Chicago mayor weighing possible Bloomberg endorsement

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) said Friday that she is considering throwing her support behind former New York City Michael Bloomberg for president.

“You know, I am considering it,” Lightfoot told Hill.TV, adding, “I think he’s a viable candidate.”

Lightfoot pointed to Bloomberg’s past philanthropy work, particularly in communities of color, in weighing an endorsement for the Democratic presidential candidate.

“There’s a lot of things that I know from his experience — both as a mayor but also as a philanthropist,” she said. “The number of things he supports, particularly making sure that young kids of color get all of the opportunities in front of them so they can really live out their God-given potential.”

However, Lightfoot maintained that she is not prepared to make an endorsement just yet, emphasizing that the 2020 race is still very fluid. Illinois, which has 184 delegates, including 155 pledged delegates, could play a role in deciding the Democratic nominee if the February early voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — fail to produce a clear frontrunner.

The Illinois primaries will be held March 17, along with primaries in Arizona, Florida and Ohio. Other delegate-rich contests in states such as California, North Carolina, Texas and Michigan will be held earlier that month.

“There’s a good possibility that out of the first four elections, we have four different winners, so I think we’re far from knowing who the nominee is going to be, but I want to make sure that it’s somebody who number one can beat Trump and number two is really speaking the values of people from the heartland,” Lightfoot told Hill.TV.

The comments come after Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times that she wasn’t leaning towards endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), though all three candidates are considered frontrunners in the race according to most national polling.

Lightfoot clarified her remarks in her interview with Hill.TV, saying that she was simply responding to a question over which candidates had reached out to her personally.

“What I said and what is true is that obviously I’m not going to make any endorsements from somebody who doesn’t ask and who doesn’t have a one-on-one conversation with me, so I just want to make sure we put that in context,” she said.

The Chicago mayor emphasized that whoever becomes the nominee, they must speak to voters in the Midwest.

“If you don’t energize those folks, who are the core of the constituents of the Democratic Party, you don’t have a shot at winning,” she said.

Her comments come as Bloomberg sees a bump in recent national polling. 

According to Emerson’s first national poll of the year, Bloomberg saw the biggest increase in support of any candidate, jumping from 4 percent to 7 percent since Emerson’s last poll. 

However, Biden still leads the pack at 30 percent support, followed by Sanders at 27 percent and Warren at 13 percent.  

—Tess Bonn