Michael Bloomberg files papers to formally join 2020 presidential race

Andrew Buncombe
Mr Bloomberg could possibly make life harder for Joe Biden: Getty

Michael Bloomberg has filed papers in Alabama that will allow him to run in the 2020 presidential race – a move that sent a jolt surge of energy through the already crowded Democratic field.

A day after reports emerged the 77-year-old billionaire was revisiting an earlier decision not to run because of the faltering performance of former vice president Joe Biden, Democratic officials in the southern state updated their website to reveal his name was now among candidates who had filed the necessary paperwork.

Bloomberg News, which is owned by the man said to be the world’s 14 richest individual, also said officials in Alabama said he had qualified for the ballot on March 3 – so-called Super Tuesday, when up to a dozen states hold their primary.

There was no official work from Mr Bloomberg, the man who served as mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013. But on Thursday, Howard Wolfson, a close adviser, issued a statement saying he saw Donald Trump as an “unprecedented threat to our nation,” and noted Mr Bloomberg’s heavy spending in the 2018 midterm elections and this week’s off-year races in Virginia. He said Mr Bloomberg had grown uneasy about the trajectory of the Democratic primary.

“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,” Mr Wolfson said.

“If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist.”

The decision to file in Alabama, the deadline for which was on Friday does not mean he will actually through his hat into the ring. The New York Times, which was the first to report his plan to file, said his intentions on whether to run were still uncertain.

Mr Bloomberg has previously considered running for the highest office in the country, most recently in 2020. Were he to enter at this late stage, he would quickly have to work hard to build up ground operations in the states of Iowa and New Hampshire, which are the first to hold their ballots, but where these is no requirement to file papers in advance.

While he has lots of money – he fortune is estimated at around $50bn – it is unclear whether he is the kind of wealthy, elderly centrist Democrats are looking for in 2020.

Mr Biden is already struggling, particularly in terms of fundraising, as the momentum has been seized by the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg.

On Friday, Donald Trump said Mr Bloomberg’s candidacy would hurt the chances for former Vice President Joe Biden.

“He’s not going to do well, I think he’s going to hurt Biden actually,” he told reporters at the White House. “There’s nobody I’d rather run against than little Michael.”

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