Less than 24 hours after the news broke that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is planning to jump into the 2020 presidential race, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign sent an email to his supporters, using the ex-mayor’s expected candidacy to solicit donations.
“Mike Bloomberg is filing paperwork to run for President of the United States,” read the email, signed by Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir. “Just what America needs...another billionaire using his wealth to try to buy an election.”
Sanders’ campaign asked voters to consider donating $2.70 “as a way of saying you have had ENOUGH of billionaires buying elections in this country.”
“Mike Bloomberg is a man of extraordinary wealth, and one the corporate media just loves,” the email said. “He is running in part because we are doing so well, and he will use that wealth to stop us. So we need your help — especially today.”
It’s possible that Bloomberg, with his money — he’s one of the richest people in the world, worth an estimated $52 billion, according to Forbes — and name recognition could emerge as a major contender, potentially toppling former Vice President Joe Biden as the favored candidate among moderates while sharpening the divide between progressive candidates like Sanders.
Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-Democrat, has been a vocal opponent of the wealth tax proposals introduced by Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Under Sanders' plan, which called for an 8 percent tax on those worth more than $10 billion, Bloomberg would pay about $4.16 billion in taxes annually.
“So why is this happening? The truth is, it’s because Mike Bloomberg and his friends in the financial elite are scared,” Sanders' campaign said. “And they should be.”
If Bloomberg enters the Democratic primary, he would not raise money for his bid and would instead rely on his own wealth to finance the campaign, according to The Washington Post.
Doing so would preclude him from participating in the Democratic primary debates, which require candidates to amass support from a certain number of unique donors.
At the end of September, Sanders’ campaign led the crowded field of Democrats in fundraising, ending the third quarter with $33.8 million cash on hand. Warren placed second, with $25.7 million, followed by South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who had $23.4 million cash on hand. Biden, however, had roughly $9 million on hand.