Thursday's Campaign Round-Up, 2.6.20

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.

* As of this morning, with 97% of the Iowa caucus vote released, Pete Buttigieg had a tiny lead over Bernie Sanders, 26.2% to 26%. They were trailed by Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Amy Klobuchar

* Billionaire Tom Steyer, in his first bid for public office, spent nearly $17 million on advertising in Iowa, but he appears on track to finish a distant seventh, with about 0.3% support.

* Presidential hopefuls are starting to report their January fundraising totals, and Bernie Sanders' team announced it collected $25 million last month, which is absolutely staggering. The New York Times noted, "The $25 million haul is more money than any other candidate raised in any full quarter during 2019."

* With Biden on track for a fourth-place finish in Iowa, the former vice president yesterday described the results as a "gut punch." His campaign operation also parted ways with its Iowa field director, Adrienne Bogen, who will not move on to a role in a different state.

* Both Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg launched new television ads this week, prominently featuring the same person: Barack Obama. (I'm guessing the campaigns' internal polling shows support for the former president at extraordinary highs.)

* With a month to go before North Carolina's Democratic U.S. Senate primary, and with party leaders enthusiastically supporting state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D), a brand new conservative political action committee, called Faith and Power, has made a $1.56 million ad buy in support of state Sen. Erica Smith (D), touting her progressive bona fides. The strategy isn't exactly subtle: the right sees Cunningham as a threat to incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (R), so Tillis' allies hope to help a Democrat they believe would be far easier to defeat in November.

* And speaking of March 3 Senate primaries, with time running out in Texas' Senate Democratic race, VoteVets is reportedly investing more than $3 million in an ad buy in support of MJ Hegar.