Billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is gearing up to step into the race for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. But he hasn’t announced he’s running yet. He’s making the preparations to be ready if he wants to. Reports have long suggested Bloomberg could run if he felt the Democrats didn’t have a strong candidate. His action comes amid reports that there is some wariness among some Democrats on whether front-runner former Vice President Joe Biden’s staying power in the primary and the election.
The New York Times:
Michael R. Bloomberg is actively preparing to enter the Democratic presidential primary and is expected to file paperwork this week designating himself as a candidate in at least one state with an early filing deadline, people briefed on Mr. Bloomberg’s plans said.
Mr. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman, has been privately weighing a bid for the White House for weeks and has not yet made a final decision on whether to run, an adviser said. But in the first sign that he is seriously moving toward a campaign, Mr. Bloomberg has dispatched staffers to Alabama to gather signatures to qualify for the primary there. Though Alabama does not hold an early primary, it has a Friday deadline for candidates to formally enter the race.
Mr. Bloomberg and his advisers called a number of prominent Democrats on Thursday to tell them he was seriously considering the race, including former Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the retired majority leader who remains a dominant power broker in the early caucus state. Aides to Mr. Bloomberg also reached out to Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, the chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
Mr. Reid said in a brief interview that Mr. Bloomberg had not explicitly said he was running for president but that the implication of the call had been clear.
Should Mr. Bloomberg proceed with a campaign, it could cause a seismic disruption in the Democratic race. With his immense personal wealth, centrist views and close ties to the political establishment, he would present an instantaneous threat to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has been struggling to raise money and is already defending his ideologically moderate base on multiple fronts.
Mr. Bloomberg, 77, initially bowed out of the 2020 race because of Mr. Biden’s apparent strength, but he has since grown skeptical that Mr. Biden is on track to win the Democratic nomination and he does not see the two leading liberals in the race, Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, as strong candidates for the general election.
Bloomberg will have to use his deep pockets to quickly play catch-up in the primary race, as he still has yet to build any sort of infrastructure in the early primary states and stands little chance of making the November debate stage, whose qualifying deadline is next week. (The deadline for the December debate is December 12, and requires 200,000 unique donors and earning 4% in at least four polls to qualify.) Moreover, while Bloomberg sees his candidacy as a necessary corrective to what he views as a lagging Democratic field, there’s little sign that Democratic voters necessarily agree. A Fox News poll conducted in late October found that only 6% of respondents would definitely vote for Bloomberg if he got into the race, while 32% said they would never vote for him. The poll also found that 69% of voters are happy with the Democratic field as it currently is, which already has a number of candidates running in Bloomberg’s lanes: There are centrists (Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Michael Bennet, etc.), a prominent billionaire (Tom Steyer), and plenty of candidates that match the 77-year-old Bloomberg’s age (Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and to a lesser extent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren).
Further to my quote in this ?@washingtonpost? story, I must say I’d greatly prefer that Mike Bloomberg use the millions he’d spend on his primary race to instead blanket the swing states with TV and digital ads attacking Trump. https://t.co/SEEZcFk40J
— Jon Cooper ?? (@joncoopertweets) November 8, 2019
Important footnote: Much of Biden’s strength is among African-Americans and non-college whites. Not immediately clear that any of this vote rushes to Bloomberg.
The mayor is a formidable person, well-known with infinite resources. But his path here is not obvious. https://t.co/7n0tPaazdF
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) November 8, 2019
Elizabeth Warren Welcomes Bloomberg to 2020 Race By Sharing Her 'Ultra-Millionaire Tax' Calculator https://t.co/mJRjUxnndi
— Jeffrey Levin (@jilevin) November 8, 2019
I think so yeah. I do not think this about Warren (puts me in minority) but about Bloomberg perceiving the moderate lane is weak.
— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) November 8, 2019
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.