Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on Monday rebuked two of her wealthy fellow Democratic presidential candidates ― former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and philanthropist Tom Steyer ― arguing it’s not the time for them to run.
“When I watched TV last night, all I saw were two billionaires’ ads, and for a lot of the people that aren’t in the early states, they must think only two people are running,” she told ABC’s “The View.” “That’s because the rest of us can’t afford to run ads like that.”
Both Bloomberg and Steyer have shelled out millions on campaign ads in a mad dash to boost their 2020 bids, sparking criticism over money’s role in politics.
“You just can’t simply allow wealthy people to come in and buy elections,” Klobuchar said. “I don’t think America looks at the guy in the White House and says, ‘Let’s find someone richer.’”
In a statement to HuffPost on Monday night, Steyer’s press secretary, Benjamin Gerdes, rejected the idea that support could be bought in early primary states.
“Voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina are not for sale,” Gerdes said, contending that “voters are responding to his message that the system isn’t working because it’s been bought by big corporations who put their profits ahead of people.”
“Voters respect Tom’s experience of building an international business from scratch and know that he is the Democrat best positioned to go head-to-head with Donald Trump on the economy and expose him for what he is,” Gerdes added, “a fraud and a failure.”
From his early-July campaign launch through late October, Steyer bought nearly $40 million in broadcasted spots, plus more than $8 million in Facebook ads.
Bloomberg, who announced his campaign last month, is spending more than $30 million on a massive ad buy and plans to use as much as $500 million overall on his bid, Politico reported.
His entry into the race has sparked scorn, in particular, from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination told CNN that Bloomberg embodies “the arrogance of billionaires.”
In response to his November ad purchase, Sanders said he was “disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any other billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy our elections.”
“It’s just the latest example of a rigged political system that we are going to change when we’re in the White House,” Sanders added.
This article has been updated with a statement from Steyer’s press secretary.