It was a billion-dollar flop.
Michael R. Bloomberg spent more than $900 million on his failed bid for the White House by the end of February, a spectacular sum and the most ever for a self-funded politician in American history. But it was not enough to help the billionaire candidate win a single state before
Mr. Bloomberg dramatically increased the pace of his spending in February: He spent $466 million in only 29 days, and accrued $31 million in bills he has yet to pay.
That adds up to approximately $17 million per day — the entire budget of some presidential candidates.
Mr. Bloomberg steadily rose in the polls this winter on the power of a can-do image crafted by his ad-makers. It did not hurt that he was the only candidate able to afford ads across the country, including in costly California and Texas markets.
But his poor first debate performance in Las Vegas, when Senator Elizabeth Warren unsparingly questioned his character and his record, began a swift downfall. Joseph R. Biden Jr. then decisively won in South Carolina and the Democratic establishment quickly consolidated behind the former vice president, as rivals including Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar dropped out and endorsed Mr. Biden in a frantic 48-hour period.
The developments left Mr. Bloomberg with little support on Super Tuesday. His lone victory was in the faraway territory of American Samoa. He secured only 58 delegates in the latest projections — at a cost of more than $15 million a piece, a price-tag that is sure to rise because the new filing does not cover the first days of March.
The lavish spending came to a crashing halt after Mr. Bloomberg exited the race. Mr. Bloomberg had attracted aides with outsize salaries, perks that included Manhattan apartments for some in his headquarters and the promise of a steady job — whether he won the nomination or not — trying to defeat President Trump through November.
But plans for an independent super PAC have since been scrapped and former Bloomberg campaign officials said Friday they were transferring $18 million in leftover campaign funds to the Democratic National Committee instead. Campaign aides could reapply for jobs — at reduced salaries.