Bloomberg signals interest in entering presidential race

Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergBloomberg apologizes for 'stop-and-frisk' ahead of possible 2020 bid The Democratic race for president may not sort itself out Deval Patrick's 2020 entry raises stakes in New Hamphire 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 John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report 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 BidenSondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report Biden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Impeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP 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 SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerSteyer: I don't think it's possible to buy the presidency New poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne 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 SandersBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Democrats seize on report of FedEx's Bernie Sanders tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan If we want to save earth, we need to change how we eat MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Democrats seize on report of FedEx's Elizabeth Warren tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan Warren 'fully committed' to 'Medicare for All' 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 ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWarren 'fully committed' to 'Medicare for All' New poll shows four top-tier 2020 candidates in Iowa The Democratic race for president may not sort itself out MORE in fundraising.