Late Thursday, news broke that Bloomberg was filing paperwork to run in the Democratic primary in Alabama, one of the first states to have a deadline for qualifying for the ballot. With a net worth of $52 billion, Bloomberg would enter the race as a moderate Democrat who has an unlimited bankroll and wouldn’t need independent donors to drive his campaign. Compared to candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden, who has just $9 million of cash on hand, Bloomberg would be at a massive advantage.
Bloomberg hasn’t made a final decision about whether to jump in, but speculation about his prospects has been rampant for months. A billionaire, philanthropist and three-term mayor in New York City, it’s not entirely clear what constituency Bloomberg would target, though pundits think his candidacy would box out other moderate Democrats like Biden or Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
.@AndrewYang: "I know that Michael [Bloomberg] understands technology and the future but I haven't seen him present real solutions beyond retraining that from the data I've seen will not be effective for the majority of Americans, particularly those who are a bit older." pic.twitter.com/ycF8NxFwdW— The Hill (@thehill) November 8, 2019
News of Bloomberg’s potential candidacy was met with mixed reactions. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) campaign manager Faiz Shakir said “more billionaires seeking more political power surely isn’t the change Amerca needs.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.) welcomed Bloomberg to the race on Twitter, but linked to her recently unveiled “billionaire calculator” that would tell Bloomberg how much money he’d pay in taxes under her new plan. Businessman Andrew Yang described Bloomberg as a “phenomenal entrepreneur” but said he thought it would be tough for someone to jump in the race this late.
In March, Bloomberg announced that he would not run in the Democratic primary. But seven months later, amidst growing fear from Democratic operatives that none of their candidates could beat Trump, Bloomberg appears prepared to hop in. At 77 years old, he’d be the second oldest candidate in the race, behind just Sanders, who is 78.
Speaking to The Washington Post, Jon Cooper, a prominent Democratic operative, said he believed Biden was the best positioned to beat Trump but it’s clear Bloomberg has his concerns. He told paper that Bloomberg “obviously fears that Warren or Sanders might prevail in the primary and then end up losing to Trump.”
Bloomberg’s top adviser Howard Wolfson released a statement echoing a similar sentiment on Thursday.
“We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated,” Wolfson said. “But Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well-positioned to do that.”