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Michael Bloomberg to File Paperwork for 2020 Presidential Primary Michael Bloomberg to File Paperwork for 2020 Presidential Primary
(about 5 hours later)
Michael R. Bloomberg will file paperwork on Friday afternoon to place himself on the Democratic presidential primary ballot in Alabama, advisers said, a first step toward competing for the party’s nomination to challenge President Trump next year.Michael R. Bloomberg will file paperwork on Friday afternoon to place himself on the Democratic presidential primary ballot in Alabama, advisers said, a first step toward competing for the party’s nomination to challenge President Trump next year.
Advisers to Mr. Bloomberg said that he had not made a final decision about whether to run for president, and that he planned to enter the Alabama primary as a preliminary step because the state has a filing deadline of Friday for candidates seeking to appear on the ballot next year.Advisers to Mr. Bloomberg said that he had not made a final decision about whether to run for president, and that he planned to enter the Alabama primary as a preliminary step because the state has a filing deadline of Friday for candidates seeking to appear on the ballot next year.
Mr. Bloomberg, 77, has told associates that he intends to run, and if he backed away from the race now it would represent an abrupt reversal that would recall his past flirtations with a presidential bid.Mr. Bloomberg, 77, has told associates that he intends to run, and if he backed away from the race now it would represent an abrupt reversal that would recall his past flirtations with a presidential bid.
His advisers are preparing to meet several other upcoming filing deadlines, including in Arkansas and New Hampshire, where candidates must submit paperwork next week. And as part of their overtures to key Democratic Party leaders, aides to Mr. Bloomberg reached out on Thursday to the office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a fellow New Yorker, to notify Mr. Schumer of his intentions, an aide to Mr. Schumer said.His advisers are preparing to meet several other upcoming filing deadlines, including in Arkansas and New Hampshire, where candidates must submit paperwork next week. And as part of their overtures to key Democratic Party leaders, aides to Mr. Bloomberg reached out on Thursday to the office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a fellow New Yorker, to notify Mr. Schumer of his intentions, an aide to Mr. Schumer said.
But the details of Mr. Bloomberg’s plans appeared to be coming together at the last minute: Even some of his longtime allies said they had been blindsided by Mr. Bloomberg’s sudden move to enter the race, and his advisers were reaching out to assemble staff for a presidential campaign even as Mr. Bloomberg was entering his final deliberations.
Michael Nutter, the former mayor of Philadelphia who has long been close to Mr. Bloomberg, said word of Mr. Bloomberg’s intentions had taken him by surprise on Thursday night. He said he had spoken to Mr. Bloomberg’s camp and come away convinced that Mr. Bloomberg was “serious about running.”
Mr. Nutter, who has been supporting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., said he had not yet thought through the implications of Mr. Bloomberg’s entry for his own involvement in the race.
“I have not, in less than 24 hours, played anything out,” Mr. Nutter said, adding, “I think all the other candidates will take him seriously.
Mr. Bloomberg’s consideration of a 2020 bid reflects the fluidity of a Democratic with no dominant front-runner, and a broader anxiety within the Democratic Party’s donor class and centrist establishment about whether the current leaders in the primary are capable of defeating Mr. Trump.Mr. Bloomberg’s consideration of a 2020 bid reflects the fluidity of a Democratic with no dominant front-runner, and a broader anxiety within the Democratic Party’s donor class and centrist establishment about whether the current leaders in the primary are capable of defeating Mr. Trump.
Party officials and donors have been talking privately for weeks about whether the one-time front-runner, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., will have the money to finance a multistate primary and whether Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are too liberal to win the general election. Party officials and donors have been talking privately for weeks about whether the one-time front-runner, Mr. Biden, will have the money to finance a complex multistate primary and whether Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are too liberal to win the general election.
Mr. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who is one of the country’s richest men, has his own vulnerabilities, such as his support for stop-and-frisk policing and charter schools, and his criticism of Ms. Warren in particular over her positions on progressive taxation and trillions of dollars in new spending, which are popular on the left. But advisers to Mr. Bloomberg say he is also concerned that Mr. Biden may not be strong enough to win the nomination and that Ms. Warren or Mr. Sanders would be defeated next November. Mr. Biden, who appeared to have the most to lose from the sudden entry of a prominent centrist with unlimited financial resources, spoke guardedly to reporters in New Hampshire about that possibility on Friday. He called Mr. Bloomberg an “honorable guy” and deflected a reporter’s question about whether Mr. Bloomberg, who was elected mayor of New York City as Republican and became a Democrat only last year, could be considered an authentic member of the party.
“Michael’s a solid guy, and let’s see where it goes. I have no, no problem with him getting in the race,” Mr. Biden said in New Hampshire, adding, “Last polls I looked at, I’m pretty far ahead.”
As reporters nudged him to go on, and Mr. Biden appeared willing to answer, his aides cut off the exchange, shouting to the assembled press, “Guys, we’ve got to go!”
Mr. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who is one of the country’s richest men, has his own vulnerabilities, such as his support for stop-and-frisk policing and charter schools, and his opposition to liberal economic policies that involve taxing large private fortunes and breaking up banks and other big corporations.
But advisers to Mr. Bloomberg say he is also concerned that Mr. Biden may not be strong enough to win the nomination, and he believes that Ms. Warren or Mr. Sanders are too liberal to defeat Mr. Trump.
The president, for his part, did not sound concerned about Mr. Bloomberg on Friday morning. Mr. Trump noted that Mr. Bloomberg would spend a lot of money on a campaign and predicted he would damage Mr. Biden in the process. Speaking in the terms of derision he usually applies to political rivals, Mr. Trump said without elaborating that Mr. Bloomberg had “personal problems” and applied a derisive nickname.
“There’s nobody I’d rather run against than little Michael,” Mr. Trump said.
Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders have already begun to take on Mr. Bloomberg more assertively, both emailing their supporters to warn that a prominent billionaire was seeking to — as they put it — buy the presidency. “The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared,” Mr. Sanders tweeted on Thursday evening, without mentioning Mr. Bloomberg by name.
Campaigning in Raleigh, N.C., on Friday, Ms. Warren avoided attacking Mr. Bloomberg directly but told reporters that a candidacy funded from personal wealth would not produce “a government that works for the people.
“I don’t think that big money ought to be able to buy our elections, and that’s true whether we’re talking about billionaires or corporate executives that fund PACs or big lobbyists,” Ms. Warren said.
In a sign of the pressure Mr. Bloomberg may face to begin campaigning quickly, the Democratic state chairmen in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to hold nominating contests, issued a joint statement on Friday strongly suggesting that Mr. Bloomberg should plan to make himself available to voters there soon.In a sign of the pressure Mr. Bloomberg may face to begin campaigning quickly, the Democratic state chairmen in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to hold nominating contests, issued a joint statement on Friday strongly suggesting that Mr. Bloomberg should plan to make himself available to voters there soon.
Ray Buckley, the New Hampshire chairman, and Troy Price, the Iowa chairman, noted that the primary field included “so many qualified candidates” with progressive ideas — a nod to the number of candidates who have already been working over the early states for many months.Ray Buckley, the New Hampshire chairman, and Troy Price, the Iowa chairman, noted that the primary field included “so many qualified candidates” with progressive ideas — a nod to the number of candidates who have already been working over the early states for many months.
“We are certain that Granite Staters, Iowans and other early state voters are eager to ask Michael Bloomberg about his plans to move our states and our country forward,” their statement said. “We hope that they will have that opportunity.”“We are certain that Granite Staters, Iowans and other early state voters are eager to ask Michael Bloomberg about his plans to move our states and our country forward,” their statement said. “We hope that they will have that opportunity.”
Mr. Bloomberg has seriously explored running for president at least three times — in 2008 and 2016 as an independent, and earlier this year as a Democrat — but in every case he has opted against mounting a campaign. He has never before taken the step of actually filing paperwork to designate himself a candidate.Mr. Bloomberg has seriously explored running for president at least three times — in 2008 and 2016 as an independent, and earlier this year as a Democrat — but in every case he has opted against mounting a campaign. He has never before taken the step of actually filing paperwork to designate himself a candidate.
He initially decided last winter that he would not challenge Mr. Trump in 2020, in large part because he concluded he could not win the Democratic nomination with Mr. Biden in the race, as a formidable standard-bearer for the party’s moderate wing. But Mr. Biden’s struggles in recent months have given Mr. Bloomberg new optimism that there is space for him in the campaign.He initially decided last winter that he would not challenge Mr. Trump in 2020, in large part because he concluded he could not win the Democratic nomination with Mr. Biden in the race, as a formidable standard-bearer for the party’s moderate wing. But Mr. Biden’s struggles in recent months have given Mr. Bloomberg new optimism that there is space for him in the campaign.
There is considerable skepticism among the leading Democratic candidates about Mr. Bloomberg’s path forward in a 2020 primary. A centrist business mogul in his eighth decade, he would be seeking to lead a party focused on questions of economic inequality, cultural diversity and generational change. (The 2020 field already has several candidates in their 70s: Mr. Sanders is 78, Mr. Biden is 76, Mr. Trump is 73 and Ms. Warren is 70.)There is considerable skepticism among the leading Democratic candidates about Mr. Bloomberg’s path forward in a 2020 primary. A centrist business mogul in his eighth decade, he would be seeking to lead a party focused on questions of economic inequality, cultural diversity and generational change. (The 2020 field already has several candidates in their 70s: Mr. Sanders is 78, Mr. Biden is 76, Mr. Trump is 73 and Ms. Warren is 70.)
The news of his revived interest in the race drew scorn from several leading Democrats, including Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, who branded him a billionaire seeking to buy the presidency to protect his own interests.The news of his revived interest in the race drew scorn from several leading Democrats, including Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, who branded him a billionaire seeking to buy the presidency to protect his own interests.
A political nomad with respect to party affiliation, Mr. Bloomberg was elected mayor three times on the Republican ticket before he registered as a Democrat during the midterm elections and spent more than $100 million to help the party take control of the House of Representatives.A political nomad with respect to party affiliation, Mr. Bloomberg was elected mayor three times on the Republican ticket before he registered as a Democrat during the midterm elections and spent more than $100 million to help the party take control of the House of Representatives.
He holds liberal views on a range of important issues — including gun control, climate change, immigration and abortion rights — but he is more conservative on issues related to the economy and law enforcement, and his record in government and business is ripe for intensive scrutiny.He holds liberal views on a range of important issues — including gun control, climate change, immigration and abortion rights — but he is more conservative on issues related to the economy and law enforcement, and his record in government and business is ripe for intensive scrutiny.