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.