Bloomberg opens door to 2020 Democratic run for president

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, is opening the door to a 2020 Democratic presidential marketing campaign, warning that the present area of candidates is ailing geared up to defeat President Donald Trump.

Bloomberg, who initially dominated out a 2020 run, has not made a ultimate determination on whether or not to leap into the race. If he had been to launch a marketing campaign, it might dramatically reshape the Democratic contest lower than three months earlier than major voting begins.

The 77-year-old has spent the previous few weeks speaking with outstanding Democrats concerning the state of the 2020 area, expressing considerations concerning the steadiness of former Vice President Joe Biden’s marketing campaign and the rise of liberal Sen. Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren, based on folks with information of these discussions. In latest days, he took steps to maintain his choices open, together with transferring to get on the first poll in Alabama forward of the state’s Friday submitting deadline.

In an announcement on Thursday, Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson stated the previous mayor believes Trump “represents an unprecedented threat to our nation” and have to be defeated.

“But Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that,” Wolfson stated.

Bloomberg’s strikes come because the Democratic race enters a vital section. Biden’s front-runner standing has been vigorously challenged by Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’re flush with money from small-dollar donors. But each are seen by some Democrats as too liberal to win in a normal election faceoff with Trump.

Despite a traditionally massive area, some Democrats anxious about defeating Trump have been searching for different choices. Former Attorney General Eric Holder and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick have quietly had conversations with supporters urging them to think about a run, however neither seems more likely to get within the race.

Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent who registered as a Democrat final yr, has flirted with a presidential run earlier than however finally backed down, together with in 2016. He endorsed Hillary Clinton in that race and, in a speech on the Democratic Party conference, pummeled Trump as a con who has oversold his enterprise successes.

Bloomberg plunged his efforts — and his cash — into gun management advocacy and local weather change initiatives. He once more appeared significantly at a presidential bid earlier this yr, touring to early voting states and conducting intensive polling, however determined to not run partially due to Biden’s perceived energy.

With immense private wealth, Bloomberg might rapidly construct out a sturdy marketing campaign operation throughout the nation. Still, his advisers acknowledge that his late entry to the race might make competing in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, which have been blanketed by candidates for practically a yr, tough. Instead, they previewed a method that may focus extra closely on the March 3 “Super Tuesday” contests, together with in delegate-rich California.

Some Democrats had been skeptical there could be a groundswell of curiosity within the former New York mayor.

“There are smart and influential people in the Democratic Party who think a candidate like Bloomberg is needed,” stated Jennifer Palmieri, who suggested Clinton’s 2016 marketing campaign. “But there is zero evidence that rank-and-file voters in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire feel the same.”

Still, others credited Bloomberg with taking over “some of America’s biggest challenges” and discovering success.

“While this is not an endorsement, Michael Bloomberg is a friend and I admire his track record as a successful business leader and Mayor who finds practical solutions to some of America’s biggest challenges, from creating good jobs to addressing the opioid crisis and fighting for common-sense gun safety,” stated Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat.

Bloomberg would pose an instantaneous ideological problem to Biden, who’s operating as a average and hopes to enchantment to independents and Republicans who’ve soured on Trump. But the billionaire media mogul with deep Wall Street ties might additionally energize supporters of Warren and Sanders, who’ve railed in opposition to earnings inequality and have vowed to ratchet up taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

“He’s a literal billionaire entering the race to keep the progressives from winning,” stated Rebecca Katz, a New York-based liberal Democratic strategist. “He is the foil.”

Warren on Thursday tweeted: “Welcome to the race, @MikeBloomberg!” and linked to her marketing campaign web site, saying he would discover there “policy plans that will make a huge difference for working people and which are very popular.”

Bloomberg would face different challenges as effectively, notably scrutiny of his three phrases as mayor. He has defended the New York Police Department’s use of the controversial stop-and-frisk coverage that has been criticized as concentrating on African Americans and Hispanics. Black voters specifically are some of the highly effective constituencies in Democratic politics.

Bloomberg should transfer rapidly within the coming days and weeks to get on the poll in most of the major states, together with Alabama. New Hampshire’s submitting deadline is Nov. 15.

In Arkansas, one other Super Tuesday state, a Democratic Party spokesman stated an individual representing a “mystery candidate” reached out Thursday afternoon asking concerning the necessities to hitch the poll. Reed Brewer, communications director for the Arkansas Democrats, stated he walked the person by way of the method — which merely requires submitting documentation with each the state get together and secretary of state, in addition to paying a $2,500 charge — and was assured that the charge could be “no problem” for the thriller candidate.

There is not any submitting requirement for a candidate to run within the Iowa caucuses, that are a sequence of Democratic Party conferences, not state-run elections. It means a candidate can enter the race for the Feb. Three leadoff contest at any time.

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in Washington, Alexandra Jaffe and Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, and Nicholas Riccardi in Denver contributed to this report.

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