Bloomberg signals interest in entering presidential race

Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergSix months in, two challenges could define Biden's presidency Why Democrats' .5 trillion reconciliation bill is a losing game Democrats must win big on health care to have a shot in the midterms MORE has opened the door to entering the crowded 2020 presidential race, arguing the current field of Democratic candidates "is not well positioned" to beat President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race MORE.

"If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist," Bloomberg aide Howard Wolfson said in a statement. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"Based on his record of accomplishment, leadership and his ability to bring people together to drive change, Mike would be able to take the fight to Trump and win," he said.

The New York Times and other news outlets earlier on Thursday reported that Bloomberg, 77, was preparing to file paperwork this week to declare himself a candidate in the Alabama presidential primary ahead of the state’s filing deadline Friday. 

A Bloomberg adviser said the former mayor and billionaire businessman has been privately mulling a White House bid for weeks and has not yet made a final decision.

Bloomberg’s entry into the crowded Democratic primary field would mark an upheaval. His moderate views, financial resources and deep connections among the political establishment could pose the most direct challenge to former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race GOP lawmakers request Cuba meeting with Biden For families, sending money home to Cuba shouldn't be a political football MORE, whose centrist campaign has lagged in fundraising behind other front-runners, leading to weeks-long handwringing among Democrats as to his viability.

The entrance of a second billionaire in the Democratic primary, joining Tom SteyerTom SteyerOvernight Energy: 'Eye of fire,' Exxon lobbyist's comments fuel renewed attacks on oil industry | Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline | More than 75 companies ask Congress to pass clean electricity standard Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline Six things to watch as California heads for recall election MORE, could also fan the debate over how far Democrats should go in addressing income and wealth inequities, particularly as proposals from progressive candidates like Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan To break the corporate tax logjam, tax overinflated CEO pay MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate confirms Biden's Air Force secretary Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Will Pence primary Trump — and win? MORE (D-Mass.) would boost taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations.

Howard Wolfson, a close adviser to Bloomberg, said the former mayor is concerned about Trump as an “unprecedented threat to the nation,” but that he’s also uncomfortable with the current Democratic primary field.

“We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated — but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that,” Wolfson tweeted on Thursday. “If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist.”

Bloomberg will have months of ground to make up should he choose to run. Most candidates launched their campaigns in the first few months of 2019. He would also likely face an avalanche of questions over his policies and politics, from implementing controversial policing techniques to his past registration as a Republican and as an independent.

Bloomberg said in March that he would not run for president but warned that the ultimate Democratic nominee should not take progressive policy positions that would “drag the party to an extreme that would diminish our chances in the general election.”

“It’s essential that we nominate a Democrat who will be in the strongest position to defeat Donald Trump and bring our country back together,” he said at the time. “We cannot allow the primary process to drag the party to an extreme that would diminish our chances in the general election and translate into ‘Four More Years.’”

However, speculation has risen that Bloomberg would reconsider joining the race after Biden, the top centrist in the primary field, saw a slight dip in the polls and fell behind Sanders, Warren and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegChasten Buttigieg: DC 'almost unaffordable' JD Vance takes aim at culture wars, childless politicians Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary MORE in fundraising.