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Bloomberg boosts ad buys in Texas, Ohio as NBC claims Lone Star State now a toss-up

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Billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg is spending $15 million on ad buys for Democratic nominee Joe Biden in Texas and Ohio, two states President Donald Trump handily won in 2016, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

In an interview with the paper, Howard Wolfson, an adviser to Bloomberg’s expensive but ultimately unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination earlier this year, said the founder of the financial newswire service that bears his name authorized the buys Monday morning.

A super PAC founded by Bloomberg, Independence USA, will air the pro-Biden ads, the Times reported.

The paper noted that last week Bloomberg asked his team to conduct polling in key battleground states to determine where a last-minute infusion of cash for Biden could have the greatest impact. The team, the Times said, recommended Texas and Ohio.

Bloomberg earlier committed to spending $100 million on pro-Biden ads in Florida, another battleground and Trump’s home state. The president narrowly won it in 2016.

“We believe that Florida will go down to the wire, and we were looking for additional opportunities to expand the map,” Wolfson told the Times. “Texas and Ohio present the best opportunities to do that, in our view.”

The campaign adviser also said that Bloomberg planned to boost ad buys in Florida over the next week, ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.

That may not make much difference; tens of millions of Americans have already cast ballots via mail and by absentee. Pre-Election Day turnout in the Sunshine State has reportedly been heavy as well.

As for Texas, NBC News reports that, based on the network’s own polling, Texas has moved from “lean Republican” to the “toss-up” column.

Other toss-up states, according to the NBC Political Unit, include Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio.

The unit also moved Arizona from “leans Democratic” to “toss-up” as well, citing recent polling indicating a surge of support for President Trump. Incumbent Sen. Martha McSally, a Republican, is reportedly in a tight race against Democratic challenger and former astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who left Congress after a near-successful assassination attempt in January 2011.

The NBC Political Unit’s forecast has already given Biden the battlegrounds of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania for a total of 279 electoral votes (270 are needed to win the presidency). Trump won all of those states except Minnesota in 2016, the first GOP candidate to do so in decades.

That said, the Trump campaign has been campaigning hard in Minnesota after barely losing the state to Hillary Clinton by about 1.5 percent.

NBC’s prediction of Biden winning at least 279 electoral votes is more than the 274 the unit predicted for Clinton four years ago.

Meanwhile, the network has Trump guaranteed to win 125 electoral votes with 134 as toss-ups, meaning if the president does capture all of those he’ll lose with just 259.

In 2016, the network said Trump would win 170 electoral votes with only 94 in the toss-up column.

The Trump campaign has dismissed out of hand any notion that Texas is in play. Former Texas governor and Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry has as well, stating flatly Texas is “not a battleground state.”

Jon Dougherty

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