Steyer spends big on Facebook ads in Nevada, South Carolina

Steyer spends big on Facebook ads in Nevada, South Carolina
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Billionaire businessman Tom SteyerTom SteyerSteyer endorses reparations bill, commits to working with Jackson Lee Progressive group launches M pro-Biden ad buy targeting young voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches MORE is leaning on a flood of Facebook advertisements in Nevada and South Carolina to gin up support for his presidential campaign ahead of the states' forthcoming caucus and primary, respectively.

Steyer is far outpacing his 2020 Democratic rivals in Facebook ad spending in both states ahead of Saturday’s caucuses in Nevada and South Carolina’s primary on Feb. 29, according to data compiled by crowdfunding technology platform Booster that was first shared with The Hill.   

Steyer has dropped more than four times the amount of money on Facebook ads in Nevada in the last 90 days than Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic MORE (I-Vt.), who spent the second-most out of the primary field in the state. Steyer spent $986,471 in Facebook ads in the Silver State in the past three months and $426,328 in the last 30 days alone.

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The heavy spending comes as Steyer hopes for a strong finish in Nevada, the first nominating state to have a diverse electorate. However, despite his heavy expenditures, he finds himself stuck in the primary field’s middle tier in the state behind Sanders, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Biden clarifies comments comparing African American and Latino communities Kanye West may have missed deadline to get on Wisconsin ballot by minutes: report MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden VP race is highly fluid days before expected pick Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package MORE (D-Mass.). 

Steyer was also left out of this week’s debate in Las Vegas after failing to reach the Democratic National Committee’s polling threshold.

The philanthropist is also opening up his deep war chest in South Carolina, far surpassing his Democratic rivals.

Steyer has spent over $1.5 million on Facebook ads in the Palmetto State in the past three months and $643,949 in the last 30 days. The spending has accounted for 68 percent of all dollars spent on the ads in South Carolina in the last 30 days among Democratic presidential contenders, according to Booster.

Former New York Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEverytown on the NRA lawsuit: 'Come November, we're going to make sure they're out of power, too' Hillicon Valley: Trump raises idea of delaying election, faces swift bipartisan pushback | Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google release earnings reports | Senators ask Justice Department to investigate TikTok, Zoom Meme group joins with Lincoln Project in new campaign against Trump MORE has spent the second most on Facebook ads in South Carolina, dishing out $179,182 in the past 90 days and $73,046 in the last 30 days.

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Steyer’s campaign has cast South Carolina as a prime opportunity for him to break out, investing heavily on advertising on other platforms and filling his campaign staff there with a diverse set of local South Carolinians.

The heavy investitures in South Carolina has pushed Steyer to third place in several state polls, though he still finds himself several points behind Biden and Sanders.

“Steyer has been laser focused on performing well in Nevada and South Carolina throughout this election as he captured 59% of Facebook ad spending in South Carolina and 56% in Nevada in Q4 according to our analysis,” said Booster co-founder Aaron Earls. “His polling in these states continued to increase late last year through to today according to Five Thirty Eight so his commitment to investing in these states seems to be paying off.”

“The question of whether Steyer will overperform in these states is if he also invested in a grassroots effort to maximize and manage the Nevada caucuses, and whether he can solidify his position in South Carolina as voters pay more attention to the race in the days leading up to the election.”

Analysis of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries have shown correlations between how Facebook ads were targeted and the support candidates got in those races. For instance, 66 percent of Sanders’s Facebook ad buys targeted voters under the age of 45, according to Booster, a demographic he won handily. Meanwhile Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Lobbying world MORE (D-Minn.) used roughly the same amount of her Facebook ad buys to target voters over the age of 45, a demographic she took in the Granite State.