FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2019 file photo, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg answers a question during an interview with The Associated Press in Orlando, Fla. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, is opening the door to a 2020 presidential campaign. Bloomberg announced earlier this year that he would not seek the Democratic nomination. But in a statement, his political adviser Howard Wolfson says Bloomberg is worried that the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates is “not well positioned” to defeat President Donald Trump.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File) Photo: AP file
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Bloomberg taking steps to prepare for possible 2020 run

29 Comments
By JULIE PACE

Michael Bloomberg was expected to file paperwork Friday to get on the ballot in the Alabama presidential primary, his first step toward formalizing a late run for the Democratic nomination.

Bloomberg's team was also scrambling to meet fast-approaching filing deadlines in other states, including Arkansas. The former New York City mayor has not made a final decision on whether to launch a White House run, but advisers cast his efforts to get on the ballot in early primary states as a way to preserve the option. Alabama's deadline is Friday.

The billionaire businessman is reconsidering a presidential bid because he is worried the current crop of Democrats is not well positioned to defeat President Donald Trump. He's spent the past few weeks talking with prominent Democrats about the state of the race, expressing concerns about the steadiness of former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign and the rise of liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, according to people with knowledge of those discussions.

Biden, campaigning in New Hampshire on Friday, welcomed Bloomberg to the race.

"Michael's a solid guy, and let's see where it goes," he told reporters. "I have no problem with him getting in the race."

Bloomberg's moves come as the Democratic race enters a crucial phase. Biden's front-runner status has been vigorously challenged by Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who are flush with cash from small-dollar donors. But both are viewed by some Democrats as too liberal to win in a general election faceoff with Trump.

Trump told reporters Friday that Bloomberg might well spend "a lot of money" but "doesn't have the magic to do well." Trump suggested he'd easily beat the former mayor and fellow billionaire.

"Little Michael will fail," Trump said at the White House, adding: "There is nobody I'd rather run against than Little Michael, that I can tell you."

Despite a historically large field, some Democrats anxious about defeating Trump have been looking for other options. Former Attorney General Eric Holder and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick have quietly had conversations with supporters urging them to consider a run, but neither appears likely to get in the race.

Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent who registered as a Democrat last year, has flirted with a presidential run before but ultimately backed down, including in 2016. He endorsed Hillary Clinton in that race and, in a speech at the Democratic Party convention, pummeled Trump as a con who has oversold his business successes.

Bloomberg plunged his efforts and his money into gun control advocacy and climate change initiatives. He again looked seriously at a presidential bid earlier this year, traveling to early voting states and conducting extensive polling, but decided not to run in part because of Biden's perceived strength.

With immense personal wealth, Bloomberg could quickly build out a robust campaign operation across the country. Still, his advisers acknowledge that his late entry to the race could make competing in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, which have been blanketed by candidates for nearly a year, difficult. Instead, they previewed a strategy that would focus more heavily on the March 3 "Super Tuesday" contests, including in delegate-rich California.

Some Democrats were skeptical there would be a groundswell of interest in the former New York mayor.

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

Bloomberg reached out to several prominent Democrats on Thursday, including Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo. One Democrat Bloomberg hasn't spoken to as he's reconsidered his run is former President Barack Obama.

Bloomberg would pose an immediate ideological challenge to Biden, who is running as a moderate and hopes to appeal to independents and Republicans who have soured on Trump. But the billionaire media mogul with deep Wall Street ties could also energize supporters of Warren and Sanders, who have railed against income 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," said 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 campaign website, saying he would find there "policy plans that will make a huge difference for working people and which are very popular."

Bloomberg would face other challenges as well, particularly scrutiny of his three terms as mayor. He has defended the New York Police Department's use of the controversial stop-and-frisk policy that has been criticized as targeting African Americans and Hispanics. Black voters in particular are one of the most powerful constituencies in Democratic politics.

In Arkansas, another Super Tuesday state, a Democratic Party spokesman said a person representing a "mystery candidate" reached out Thursday afternoon asking about the requirements to join the ballot. Reed Brewer, communications director for the Arkansas Democrats, said he walked the individual through the process — which simply requires filing documentation with both the state party and secretary of state, as well as paying a $2,500 fee — and was assured that the fee would be "no problem" for the mystery candidate.

There is no filing requirement for a candidate to run in the Iowa caucuses, which are a series of Democratic Party meetings, not state-run elections. It means a candidate can enter the race for the Feb. 3 leadoff contest at any time.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


29 Comments

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Another rich white guy? Guess Michelle's gonna have to jump in.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Perfect.

Muddy the water, create more strife within the Democratic party, draw away funding other candidates and disenfranchise a whole bunch Dems in swing states.

Lovin it.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

That will be interesting. Two candidates. One a highly successful billionaire entrepreneur. The other is Donald Trump.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Richer and more successful than Trump. So successful I doubt he’d need to skim off charity money. I don’t think he’s trailing a list of bankruptcies either. Trump supporters like the idea of a businessman running the country.

I’m sure Trump supporters like the idea.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Bloomberg wants to cut the debt by reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits.

He does not support a progressive tax code.

For these reasons I would not vote for him.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Serrano

Another rich white guy? Guess Michelle's gonna have to jump in.

Isn't Trump a rich white guy?

Trump already throwing in the personal insults. Worth $52 billion. "Little Michael" Trump called him. He also said Bloomberg had "personal problems".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Funny, for a party that so racially diverse and prides itself for it, all of its top Presidential candidates are White.

He won’t win. Hardly anyone wants to elect the man that scolds Americans what to eat and drink and how to live and conduct our lives. 6%....yeah, expect that number to stay like that.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

He won’t win.

Trump looks hard to beat. A man who breaks the law in electioneering and steals from charity is still the strongest looking candidate. It's sad but true.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Trump looks hard to beat. A man who breaks the law in electioneering and steals from charity is still the strongest looking candidate. It's sad but true.

Based on allegations by Harry Reid the man who said Romney doesn’t pay his taxes, all debunked, but yeah, the media could care less as long as it can damage Trump politically, why would they care. Screw the voters, the establishment hammer and sickle will tell you how to vote.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Bloomberg is the richer more successful businessman and has political experience. 20 times more money than Trump.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

He won’t win.

You said the same about Trump

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Bloomberg is the richer more successful businessman and has political experience. 20 times more money than Trump.

Yes, but money doesn’t help you win an election, it’s an asset, but it doesn’t give you likability status or make you charismatic. The man has no sense of humor, not to mention he’s short and sad to say this, but the country is not ready for a short President, that’s just a cold hard fact.

You said the same about Trump.

But Trump is likable to over 80 million people, Bloomberg doesn’t come anywhere even remotely close to that.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

but the country is not ready for a short President, that’s just a cold hard fact.

But the fact is that Trump has come up short on his campaign promises. Shortest of height has nothing to do with it. Obama was tall but you still insulted him.

But Trump is likable to over 80 million people, Bloomberg doesn’t come anywhere even remotely close to that.

Strange, in the 2016 election, 63 million voters were for Trump, a minority.

Bloomberg hasn't been a candidate before. So you have no idea.

The majority of presidents have been short.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yes and there is a reason for that, at 77 years old that he never tried.

Bloomberg hasn't been a candidate before

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

But Trump is likable to over 80 million people

Many people who voted for Trump see him as vulgar, ignorant, dodgy, dishonest and childish but liked his policies. According to your logic, more people ‘liked’ Hillary Clinton.

Where are you getting the stats from on how Bloomberg is viewed nationwide?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But the fact is that Trump has come up short on his campaign promises.

Only the ones where the Democrats threw roadblocks in front of him.

Shortest of height has nothing to do with it. Obama was tall but you still insulted him.

Focus! I never liked Obama nor did I vote for him, but this is not about me, the majority of Americans are not attracted to someone that short for a commander in chief. That’s just reality.

Strange, in the 2016 election, 63 million voters were for Trump, a minority.

That got him over the finish line. I guess liberals really don’t get how the EC works.

Bloomberg hasn't been a candidate before. So you have no idea.

I do, he did a decent job in NYC, but as a Presidential candidate, he has NO chance. Zero. Continue to watch and see how his numbers don’t surpass the other Democrats this is why he’s jumping in.

The majority of presidents have been short.

Not that short and we live in 2019 where people are a lot taller.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Only the ones where the Democrats threw roadblocks in front of him.

You guys obstructed Obama for eight years, why would you ever expect that the other team wouldn't return that?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What is Trump's current poll ratings

41.4% approve 54.3% disapprove.

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

Trump even gets booed when attending games and other events. People shouting "lock him up".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Strange, in the 2016 election, 63 million voters were for Trump, a minority.

That got him over the finish line. I guess liberals really don’t get how the EC works.

So a minority of voters, 63 million, voted for Trump.

Why did you claim 80 million like him? What is this based on?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So a minority of voters, 63 million, voted for Trump.

Why did you claim 80 million like him? What is this based on?

Liberal numbers

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What is Trump's current poll ratings

41.4% approve 54.3% disapprove.

Ok, so his approval is slightly higher than his normal average, so not much difference. Once he gets in his 20’s please inform me.

But thank God the majority of over 53% of Key Battleground state voters disapprove of him getting impeached.

Trump even gets booed when attending games and other events. People shouting "lock him up"

In D.C. and in Blue States, I wouldn’t expect any different. But he’s not the first President to be booed. Let him to a game in Texas or Mississippi, probably roll out the red carpet for the man. Lol

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So a minority of voters, 63 million, voted for Trump.

Why did you claim 80 million like him? What is this based on?

Liberal numbers

This makes no sense whatsoever. It’s utter nonsense. It has no place in an adult conversation. It debauches this website. It’s unacceptable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So a minority of voters, 63 million, voted for Trump.

Why did you claim 80 million like him? What is this based on?

Liberal numbers

Another name for alternative facts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He is 77.

Why?

It's bad enough the leading democratic candidates are 77 and 78.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This makes no sense whatsoever. It’s utter nonsense.

Yeah, it really does.

It has no place in an adult conversation.

Deflection doesn’t help liberals, not one iota, unacceptable.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Bloomberg is the richer more successful businessman and has political experience. 20 times more money than Trump.

Money and political experience didn't win the election last time. The world is very different now, 20 times more money is almost a guaranteed loss.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If Bloomberg wants to help, he should run in the Republican primary, not the Democratic party.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Jeeze, another Democrat I have to learn about? This is why I don't get involved this early.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The funniest thing this week was Jeff Session's promotional video!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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