Michael Bloomberg poised for possible 2020 campaign

Former New York mayor fears current Democratic candidates are not equipped to defeat Trump, adviser says

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, is opening the door to a possible 2020 presidential campaign.

Bloomberg announced earlier this year that he would not seek the Democratic nomination.

But in a statement on Thursday afternoon, his political adviser Howard Wolfson said that Bloomberg was worried that the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates was “not well positioned” to defeat Donald Trump.

A Bloomberg adviser said the former mayor had not made a final decision on whether to run.

But he is expected to file to get on the ballot in Alabama’s Democratic presidential primary. The Alabama primary takes place on 3 March.

Alabama has an early filing deadline and is among the states that vote on so-called Super Tuesday, the nickname for the large number of state contests held that day in the process to choose the Democratic party nominee to challenge Trump for the White House next November.

He could file the necessary paperwork as early as this week, the New York Times reported.

The entry of Bloomberg into the crowded Democratic field would be a huge disrupting influence and as a centrist and former Republican, an older billionaire with a political track record who, unusually, served three terms as mayor of New York City, he could be a huge threat to current frontrunner Joe Biden.

The 77-year-old co-founded his eponymous financial information and media company Bloomberg in 1981 and is now worth an estimated $52bn, according to Forbes magazine, making him the ninth-richest person in the US and the 14th in the world.

He studied at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard and joined the financial industry at Salomon Brothers in 1966.

Bloomberg served as mayor of New York for 12 years and one of his best-known early actions was to ban smoking in bars in the city in 2003. He later became a strong advocate of gun control and in 2006 co-founded a campaign group against illegal firearms that drew the support of 1,000 mayors across the US. The group has since evolved into an organization called Everytown for Gun Safety.

But he was also something of a divisive figure, especially economically, in New York, seen by critics as a relentless gentrifier who encouraged and incentivized countless huge development projects across the city while affordable housing became more scarce. Tourism to the city soared while he was in office and projects such as the popular High Line park appeared alongside shiny new skyscrapers.

Social media broke out the “Ok Bloomer” jokes on Thursday afternoon, a take on the popular Gen Z retort to anyone perceived to be a patronizing older person: “Ok Boomer”.

Ok Boomer
Ok Bloomer
Ok Bloomber
Ok Bloomberg

— Paul Fairie (@paulisci) November 7, 2019

He won more respect than affection among New Yorkers – only four mayors have served three terms. He was business-minded and clearly hugely successful in that arena. He was even-keeled and very well-connected, though not especially charismatic.

. @howiewolf is Bloomberg’s longtime political advisor. He previously worked for Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton

He served as Clinton’s communications director for her 2008 presidential campaign https://t.co/nXax5LvnIj

— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 7, 2019

But any prospect of Bloomberg entering the race will probably send shockwaves through the campaigns of the remaining moderate candidates, who will be hoping to maintain momentum through the November and December debates and contests in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

And despite his strong establishment political connections and solid track record, it is far from clear whether a Bloomberg candidacy would be welcomed by the Democratic party establishment.

Grassroots support could be hard to build outside of the urban better-off and white suburbs. Bloomberg’s preference for police stop-and-frisk policies in New York was hugely unpopular with many liberals and in majority-black neighborhoods, where it was persistent and sharply criticized as biased.

Bloomberg: I’m here to save you from Warren!
Me: I’m not a billionaire.
Bloomberg: But maybe you WILL be one day.
Me: I’m black.

— a guy who has bigger problems than how many billions white guys have left over.

— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) November 7, 2019
Guardian staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Bloomberg plunges into new controversy as race and gender comments resurface
Candidate said many ‘black and Latino men don’t know how to behave in workplace’ and mocked trans rights

Oliver Milman in New York and Maanvi Singh in San Francisco

19, Feb, 2020 @12:02 AM

Article image
Michael Bloomberg confirms White House run and kicks off $30m ad buy
Bloomberg will skip first four states in the primary and make a play for the Super Tuesday states in March

Tom McCarthy in New York

24, Nov, 2019 @6:04 PM

Article image
Michael Bloomberg: billionaire eyes centre lane in Democratic presidential race
Dismayed by Biden’s stumbles and with campaign cash to burn, the former New York mayor dreams of the White House again

Edward Helmore

09, Nov, 2019 @11:39 AM

Article image
Michael Bloomberg: former New York mayor will not run for president in 2020
Billionaire Bloomberg, who backs gun control and climate change causes, has pledged his wealth to the Trump resistance

David Smith in Washington

06, Mar, 2019 @12:23 AM

Article image
The Many Lives of Michael Bloomberg review: not quite a presidential read
The billionaire was a great New York mayor but he was right to decide not to run for the White House

Lloyd Green

14, Sep, 2019 @5:00 AM

Article image
Mike Bloomberg quits 2020 race after spending more than $500m
Billionaire candidate faced controversy over his wealth, stop-and-frisk policy and past remarks against women and minorities

Enjoli Liston and Joanna Walters in New York

04, Mar, 2020 @3:14 PM

Article image
Mike Bloomberg will spend $100m to help Biden beat Trump in Florida
Billionaire’s cash infusion aimed at boosting early voting, as adviser tells Post money will free Democrats to spend elsewhere

Martin Pengelly in New York

13, Sep, 2020 @2:35 PM

Article image
Leading Democrats take aim at Bloomberg as Nevada caucuses loom
Former New York mayor is target of attacks from left and right despite not competing in next state to vote

Martin Pengelly in New York and agencies

16, Feb, 2020 @4:49 PM

Article image
Mike Bloomberg: why a troubling record on women could derail his 2020 bid
The billionaire’s past treatment of women has come under intense scrutiny – and the disquiet runs much deeper than lewd jokes

Lucia Graves

02, Mar, 2020 @8:00 AM

Article image
'Billionaire boys club': the challengers lining up to face Trump in 2020
The last opponent Trump expects to face in the 2020 election is someone even richer – but Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg and Howard Schultz have all hinted at running

David Smith in Washington

16, Dec, 2018 @6:00 AM