Mike Bloomberg Takes Another Step Toward Officially Running

Mike Bloomberg isn't officially a candidate for President yet, but he's getting closer.

About two weeks after beginning the process of becoming a Presidential candidate by filing to get into the Alabama Presidential Primary, former New York City Mayor has officially filed the paperwork to begin a campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination:

Michael Bloomberg is inching closer to a 2020 presidential run, filing an official statement of candidacy on Thursday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The filing isn’t a definitive sign that Bloomberg will seek the Democratic presidential nomination next year and an aide to the former New York City mayor told The Hill that he has not yet made a final decision on whether to launch a campaign.

But, the aide added, filing a statement of candidacy with the FEC was “another step towards running.”

The filing is likely to stir consternation in the Democratic primary field, which has seen its number of candidates increase in recent weeks. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced last week that he would mount an eleventh-hour bid for the party’s nomination, and Bloomberg has already taken steps to get on the ballot in a handful of states, including Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.  

Both Bloomberg and Patrick ruled out presidential campaigns last winter with Patrick citing family as his reason for punting on a White House run and Bloomberg deciding against a campaign after coming to the conclusion that former Vice President Joe Biden would prove to be too formidable a primary opponent.

That calculus has changed in recent months, however, as Biden has seen his once-clear frontrunner status erode. Polls currently show a fluid race between the top four candidates: Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Some Democratic leaders and party elites have grown anxious in recent months about the field of candidates, worrying that no one in the current lineup will be able to defeat President Trump in 2020. Bloomberg’s advisers have made the argument that there is still room in the primary contest for a moderate that they see as more electable than the current slate of candidates.

While he has yet to make a final decision on a presidential run, Bloomberg has already started spending money on 2020. He is launching a $100 million digital ad campaign attacking Trump in crucial battleground states and is expected to spend between $15 million and $20 million on voter registration efforts.

If he ultimately decides to mount a bid for the White House, Bloomberg is expected to forego a campaign in the four early primary and caucus states that have historically defined presidential nominating contests and will instead double down on delegate-rich Super Tuesday states like California.

I remain as skeptical about the odds of Bloomberg becoming a contender in 2020 as I was when he first announced that he was moving forward with filing paperwork to get on the ballot in states such as Alabama and Arkansas. However, it is worth noting that Bloomberg does appear to be making an impact on polls, including national polls that show him garnering as much 3% in two recent polls from HarrisX and Morning Consult. Given that, if he does get into the race and commit to spending the amount of money that he has committed to, then he could end up having an impact on the race after all, especially if former Vice-President Biden flounders and candidates that could occupy the center-left lane of the race such as Pete Buttigieg don’t gain momentum coming out of Iowa and New Hampshire.

If that’s going to happen, though, then Bloomberg is going to need to end this Hamlet-like strategy of indecisiveness and make a decision to get all-in. He’s going to need to spend money on media in the Super Tuesday states, and he’s going to need to get out there and meet and introduce himself to voters. So far, he’s given no indication that he’s inclined to do that, though, and unless that changes he’s basically just going to fizzle out.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. grumpy realist says:

    Another “Hamlet on the Hudson”?

    Well, he’s got the money to piss away on a vanity run. Scratch that off your bucket list, Mr. Bloomberg.

    (I think every single Democratic candidate vying in this race should have tattooed on the inside of his/her eyelids: “YOU ARE NOT AS IMPORTANT AS YOU THINK YOU ARE.”)

  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:
    I’m not as convinced Bloomberg should be dismissed. We have Biden, Warren, Bernie and Buttigieg who have any kind of standing in the polls. They are respectively Clueless, Unrealistic, Tedious and Inexperienced. Granted in theory we should be able to beat Trump with Clint Eastwood’s chair, but Biden has trouble raising cash, while Bloomberg does not have trouble raising cash and that’s no small thing.

  3. Kit says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    we should be able to beat Trump with Clint Eastwood’s chair

    I’d pay good money to beat Trump with a chair.

  4. Jen says:

    “Okay Bloomer.”

  5. Matt says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yeah bloomberg has cash and no real enthusiasm behind him or his reefer madness constitutional rights stomping old geezer beliefs. You want to lose go ahead and nominate that old out of touch white guy that is barely better than Trump….

    You think Pete has trouble with the AA population? Wait till Bloomberg tries to defend his stop and frisk policies in a debate…

  6. Kathy says:

    Bloomberg should try to out-Trump Trump, by offering massive aid, should he win, to any and all countries that will investigate Trump’s corrupt deals, dig up dirt on Trump, hack White House, Senate and RNC servers, etc.

    After all, such things are no longer illegal, improper, or even worth mentioning, so long as Bloomberg doesn’t benefit from them. He won’t, because he probably won’t win the nomination. So all those megatons of filth on Donald the Cowardly will benefit him not at all.

  7. Matt says:

    Seriously Bloomberg is to the right of Trump on several issues especially involving law and order. He still defends his stop and frisk policy which overwhelmingly targeted minorities as a great policy that made New York safer (it didn’t but it did violate the constitutional rights of minorities). He also opposes any form of criminal justice reform because we can’t be soft on crime. He also opposes marijuana legalization because “it’s a gateway drug” and “medical marijuana is a hoax”. I don’t understand why the Democrats are even considering this guy. He’s Trump light with his “my beliefs matter more than reality” and his “law and order” stupidity.

    IF you think you’re going to win with GOP light….

  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    Actually, he’s apologized for stop and frisk. If he’s serious about winning he’ll walk back some more, and he’ll take a shot at inequality. I’m not talking the guy up, he’s not the horse I’m riding, but I’m willing to listen.

    And comparing him to Trump is absurd.

  9. de stijl says:

    The only people pining for Bloomberg are the advertising teams in Iowa and New Hampshire TV stations, Google ads, production shops, people willing to rent out picturesque Iowa farms, makers of salt of the earth sweaters and barn coats, etc.

    Bloomberg has no obvious under-represented base of support. Deval is doing a Hail Mary; Bloomberg is wasting $100 million on a Hail Mary.

    Tom Steyer 2.0

    I believe the term is “pissing his money away”.

  10. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    I believe the term is “pissing his money away”.

    He won’t miss it. At all.

    This is something that shockingly few people understand: the marginal utility of money goes to zero as you get Really Rich(tm). Once you have enough that you (literally) can’t spend it fast enough to be getting poorer*, everything in life is free.

    And yet, taxing the crap out of such people’s new income would apparently be unkind and counterproductive and un-American. Sigh.

    *If you have 10 billion, and invest it sensibly, it will generate about half a billion per year in income without you lifting a finger. Conservatively, call it a million dollars a day. It is nearly impossible to spend a million dollars a day on an ongoing basis.

  11. de stijl says:


    I assert the the so-called “American Dream” of upward mobility and belief that it was possible and achievable by dint of hard work and savviness by ordinary folks was more prevalent when marginal tax rates on the mega-rich were much higher.

    It’s almost as if a flatter tax structure favors the wealthy and disempowers those with less. Who could have foretold that?

    Unchecked capitalism eats its young.

  12. de stijl says:

    When Bloomberg wastes his $100 million, it will to some extent benefit local economies in Iowa and New Hampshire. And the nation as a whole.

    Yes, the majority will go to the folks who own the local TV stations and Google, but there will be some wash-over into local economies.

    I’m totally for billionaires spending rather than hoarding their wealth. Hopefully on more productive civil projects than vanity Presidential runs, but it is more beneficial than if that $100 million sat in some account.

  13. An Interested Party says:

    I don’t understand why the Democrats are even considering this guy.

    The perception that the current field of candidates is weak…

  14. de stijl says:

    @An Intetested Party

    The only people who think Bloomberg is stronger than the current D field are going to vote for President Pence anyway.

  15. Kit says:


    This is something that shockingly few people understand: the marginal utility of money goes to zero as you get Really Rich(tm). Once you have enough that you (literally) can’t spend it fast enough to be getting poorer*, everything in life is free.

    The other shocking thing to realize is that once you get Really Rich and can no longer spend your money, the only thing left to want is… more! More money. More power. And you will go to great lengths to rig the system in your favor to get it.

  16. Matt says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Actually, he’s apologized for stop and frisk.

    Yes he did mere days before filing to be a candidate and afters spending YEARS bragging about how great of a policy it was INCLUDING EARLIER THIS YEAR.. If you can’t see that as a craven insincere “apology” then you’re just a left wing version of a trumpster.

    Meanwhile he still called medical marijuana a hoax despite all the scientific evidence contrary (just like Trump loves to do). He still defends the NYPD program to spy on muslims (just like Trump loves to hate on them). Oversaw a massive increase in violence and use of force at Rikers island (which Trump would love if he knew about it considering all the times he’s told police to be violent). It goes on and I don’t really feel like investing more time on this bad candidate. Maybe you’re willing to support a more moderate version of Trump in the hopes you’ll get judges but that would make you no better than those GOP you bash daily because they support Trump…

    The status quo is fcking over the average American and electing Mr Status Quo + science denial billionaire old white dude is not what I see as a way to fix it..

    @DrDaveT: Exactly and that’s how around 60% of THE ENTIRE WEALTH of this country is in the hands of the top 1%. They basically have a perpetual motion machine that prints money. Add in the fact that it’s basically impossible for a rich kid to fck his life up and you have a new form of “nobility”….

    @An Interested Party: Which is basically the perception every single bloody time…

  17. Matt says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I down voted you on accident while clicking between screens. My apologies.