Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the richest men in the world, is preparing to enter the 2020 presidential race, emerging as a potential disruptor in the crowded field of Democrats, where there’s still no clear frontrunner.
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"Mike believes that Donald Trump represents an unprecedented threat to our nation," Howard Wolfson, a longtime aide to Bloomberg, said in a statement. "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.”
The move marks a reversal for Bloomberg, who’d previously engaged in a will he, won’t he before he announced in March that he would not run for president after former Vice President Joe Biden made it clear that he intended to do so.
With his money — he’s the world’s eighth richest person, worth an estimated $52 billion, according to Forbes — and name recognition, Bloomberg could shake up the Democratic primary, toppling Biden as the favored candidate among moderates while sharpening the divide between progressive candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Bloomberg has been outspoken against their intentions to hike taxes on the ultra-wealthy.
“Welcome to the race, @MikeBloomberg! If you're looking for policy plans that will make a huge difference for working people and which are very popular, start here,” Warren wrote on a tweet, sharing a link for a calculator of how much billionaires would pay under her proposed wealth tax.
“The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared,” Sanders wrote.
Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-Democrat, cofounded the financial information and media company Bloomberg LP in 1981. He now owns about 88 percent of the business, according to Forbes, which is worth a reported $10 billion.
Over his lifetime, he’s donated roughly $8 billion to charity, or 13 percent of his total net worth.
If he does move forward with the bid — he’s expected to file paperwork to declare himself as a Democratic candidate in Alabama, where there’s an early filing deadline — Bloomberg has decided not to raise money for his bid and would instead use 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.
“He has never raised a dime for his campaigns, and he is not about to start,” said a person familiar with his thinking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly about the planning, according to the Post.