More than 1.3 million votes and $20 million later, our state’s Democratic presidential primary ended with a quick call and decisive victory for Joe Biden, whose dominant win in South Carolina, followed by a slew of high-profile endorsements, subsequent rout of 10 of 14 Super Tuesday states, and more high-profile endorsements propelled him into pole position last week. But you didn’t see many Biden ads on TV or clogging up your Facebook feed. You didn’t see that many Bernie Sanders ads either, let alone anything from Elizabeth Warren. 

Every-freaking-where you looked, it was Mike Bloomberg, Mike Bloomberg, Mike Goddamn Bloomberg. 

As it turns out, Mike could not get it done. He claimed 13 percent of the vote, and, having already spent north of a half-billion bucks on what amounted to a social science experiment to see whether it’s actually possible to buy an election, he dropped out and endorsed Biden. (Warren soon departed, too.)

But that got us thinking: How much did Bloomberg pay for his (relative) pittance of votes—and delegates? For that matter, how much did they all pay, and who got the most bang for their buck? 

Here’s a hint: not Mike Bloomberg. 

1. Includes outside funding benefitting Sanders, Biden, and Warren. Numbers rounded. Source: Advertising Analytics as reported by NPR and NBC. Assumes higher total in cases of discrepancies.  2. Source: State Board of Elections, 2:30 p.m., March 4, with 100% of precincts reporting.  3. Numbers rounded.  4. North Carolina has 122 delegates. Of those, 110 are allocated based on the results of the primary, and 12 are unpledged party leaders and officials. Source: The Green Papers, March 4.

Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at 

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