Bloomberg signals interest in entering presidential race

Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergPoll: 68 percent of Democrats say it 'makes no difference' if a candidate is a billionaire Chicago mayor weighing possible Bloomberg endorsement Judge Judy's verdict: Ignoring Bloomberg's record to endorse others made no sense 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 TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg 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. 

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"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 BidenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters George Conway: Witness missing from impeachment trial is Trump 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 Fahr SteyerPoll: 68 percent of Democrats say it 'makes no difference' if a candidate is a billionaire CNN to host two straight nights of Democratic town halls before NH primary Steyer's advice from son after overhearing Warren-Sanders hot mic dust-up: 'Don't be a snitch' 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 SandersKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial 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 ButtigiegDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Candidates weighing using private jets to get to Iowa Biden nabs endorsement from Iowa Democrat in swing district MORE in fundraising.