Biden allies shrug off Bloomberg bid as ‘laughable’

Longtime allies to Joe Biden are expressing confidence that Michael Bloomberg does not represent a threat to their candidate if he enters the race, with one Biden ally calling a bid by the former New York City mayor “laughable.”

Biden allies say Bloomberg is unlikely to win support from African American voters in a Democratic presidential primary, and they don’t think he will be a real challenge for Biden — who leads a number of national polls but has fallen behind liberal Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in some recent surveys of Iowa and New Hampshire.

{mosads}“It’s laughable,” one longtime ally to the former vice president said of Bloomberg, whose candidacy would have nearly limitless pockets. “He had no chance when he was flirting with a bid and he has even less of a chance now.”

The ally said Biden’s campaign has been propelled by the support in particular of African Americans, and that this is unlikely to transfer to Bloomberg, who embraced “stop and frisk” policies intended to combat crime that were also seen as discriminating against blacks and Hispanics.

“No one wins the nomination unless they secure these voters,” the ally said. “Bloomberg is far from it.” 

Another Democratic donor who supports Biden added that the idea that Bloomberg would “damage” a Biden campaign is “completely overblown.” 

Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko, who has remained neutral in the primary, said Bloomberg won’t hurt anyone — meaning Biden or Warren and Sanders. 

“Do people actually think Bloomberg will have support? I don’t think the undecideds have been sitting on the fence waiting for Mike Bloomberg to enter the race,” Parkhomenko said. “I don’t think Bloomberg is going to make or break anyone in this primary.” 

Bloomberg allies on Monday maintained that the only reason the former mayor is considering entering the race to begin with is because he feels like the Biden campaign is “weak,” according to one supporter. 

Howard Wolfson, a longtime adviser to Bloomberg, did not respond to requests for comment. 

On Thursday, Wolfson wrote on Twitter that Democrats need to “ensure that Trump is defeated but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that.” 

Democratic strategist Brad Bannon argued that Team Biden shouldn’t be blowing off a Bloomberg run. 

“If Bloomberg is serious about making the race, Biden should be seriously worried,” Bannon said. “Joe Biden had a massive lead back in May but now he’s hanging on by his fingernails.” 

“The reason for the excitement over Bloomberg is that centrist Democrats and wealthy donors have lost confidence in Biden’s ability to stop Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination,” Bannon added. “If Bloomberg commits, Biden’s fundraising will get even shakier than it already is. There’s only room for one moderate in this race and Bloomberg threatens Biden’s status as the centrist standard-bearer.”

But Democratic strategist Basil Smikle, who also remains neutral in the primary, said that while Bloomberg voters have a similar profile to Biden’s — older and more moderate — he “won’t lose many votes to him.” 

Smikle added that Biden “should just lean into the support he already enjoys and let Warren and Sanders go on the attack to protect the progressive flank.”

Biden was also bolstered on Monday by a Quinnipiac poll of New Hampshire that showed him with the lead. The poll found Biden with 20 percent support followed by Warren at 16 percent and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sanders at 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively. 

The former vice president himself pointed to other polls last week when reporters pressed him on Bloomberg’s possible entrance in the race. 

“In terms of he’s running because of me, the last polls I looked at, I’m pretty far ahead,” Biden told reporters in New Hampshire. “If I’m not mistaken, I’m doing pretty well both relative to Trump and relative to all the people running in the Democratic primary.” 

The Biden ally also pointed to the recent polls as proof of Biden’s lead in the race. 

“There are strong candidates in this race and he continues to be at the top of the polls,” one ally said. “Bloomberg wouldn’t even come close.” 

Tags Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Michael Bloomberg Pete Buttigieg

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