The biggest winner in the Iowa Democratic caucus debacle may well have been a candidate who didn’t bother to campaign in the Hawkeye State — billionaire Mike Bloomberg.
Bloomberg campaign insiders said the former three-term New York City mayor’s strategic decision to skip Iowa and other early states and instead run a broad national campaign is vindicated by the voting controversy surrounding the caucus results.
“The winner of the Iowa caucus was Mike Bloomberg,” claimed Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, the first elected Democrat in New York to endorse Bloomberg.
“The Iowa Caucus was a disaster. This debacle totally vindicates Mike Bloomberg’s strategy of focusing on the country as a whole as opposed to the first few states.”
Bellone also said the Iowa mess plays into Bloomberg’s brand and reputation as a competent manager, noting that the company the billionaire mogul founded, Bloomberg LP, transits information through its data terminals.
“They could have used Bloomberg terminals to report the results,” Bellone quipped.
The leading candidates competing in Iowa — Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden — blew through tens of millions for questionable results and for the winner, an arguably pyrrhic victory, campaign analysts said.
Sanders, the Vermont senator who ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016, spent $50 million during the last quarter of 2019 on his campaign. He directed $10 million toward TV ads in Iowa and stumped in the state for 58 days, according to a New York Times tally.
Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor, went all out in Iowa. He spent 62 days in the Hawkeye State and spent $10 million on ads.
Warren, the Massachusetts senator, stumped 56 days in Iowa and spent $6.1 million.
Biden, the former vice president, spent $4 million in TV ads in Iowa but a Super PAC backing him, United the Country, spend $5.5 million more to assist him. He spent 58 days in the state.
Staten Island Congressman Max Rose, the first House member to back Bloomberg, told The Post, “Last night proved two things to be true: the early primary process needs to be reformed, and the field is wide open for someone with Mayor Bloomberg’s independence, record and vision.”
Longtime Bloomberg campaign adviser Bradley Tusk said the early chips are going his way.
“Sometimes in a campaign, things come together in a way that starts making a candidate the obvious choice. That may be what we’re seeing here,” Tusk said.
Even civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton who often butted heads with Bloomberg when he was mayor, said the billionaire was “inadvertently” a winner.
“It helps Bloomberg because he is a businessman that deals with data. He can use the competency argument. It helps Bloomberg inadvertently,” Sharpton said. “The winners are Buttigieg [who declared victory] and inadvertently Bloomberg.”
Sharpton said even the top vote-getters in Iowa are muddied by the Iowa mess.
“It’s a tarnished win. It’s not their fault, but it’s their circumstance,” he said. “It’s a setback for those of us who’ve been fighting against voter suppression. It was a disenfranchisement of the voter. Their votes are compromised.”