sunny.png
Wednesday December 11th, 2019 11:20AM

Michael Bloomberg launches Democratic presidential bid

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the world’s richest men, has formally launched a Democratic bid for president.

Ending weeks of speculation, the 77-year-old former Republican announced his candidacy Sunday in a written statement posted on a campaign website describing himself as uniquely positioned to defeat President Donald Trump. He will quickly follow with a massive advertising campaign blanketing airways in key primary states across the U.S.

“I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America,” Bloomberg wrote.

“We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions,” he continued. “He represents an existential threat to our country and our values. If he wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage.”

Bloomberg’s entrance comes just 10 weeks before primary voting begins, an unorthodox move that reflects anxiety within the Democratic Party about the strength of its current candidates.

As a centrist with deep ties to Wall Street, Bloomberg is expected to struggle among the party’s energized progressive base. He became a Democrat only last year. Yet his tremendous resources and moderate profile could be appealing in a primary contest that has become, above all, a quest to find the person best-positioned to deny Trump a second term next November.

Forbes ranked Bloomberg as the 11th-richest person in the world last year with a net worth of roughly $50 billion. Trump, by contrast, was ranked 259th with a net worth of just over $3 billion. His businesses — among them are financial data services and news services in various formats — employ more than 19,000 people in 69 countries. They are also certain to raise ethical questions about how his news-oriented businesses will cover the campaign and financial conflicts of interest for a possible presidency.

Already, Bloomberg has vowed to spend at least $150 million of his fortune on various pieces of a 2020 campaign, including more than $100 million for internet ads attacking Trump, between $15 million and $20 million on a voter registration drive largely targeting minority voters, and more than $30 million on an initial round of television ads.

He did not say how much he would be willing to spend overall on his presidential ambitions, but senior adviser Howard Wolfson did: “Whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump.”

Wolfson also said that Bloomberg would not accept a single political donation for his campaign or take a salary should he become president.

Even before the announcement was final, Democratic rivals like Bernie Sanders pounced on Bloomberg’s plans to rely on his personal fortune.

"We do not believe that billionaires have the right to buy elections,” Sanders said as he campaigned in New Hampshire on Sunday. He continued: “That is why multibillionaires like Mr. Bloomberg are not going to get very far in this election."

Elizabeth Warren, another leading progressive candidate, also slammed Bloomberg on Saturday for trying to buy the presidency.

"I understand that rich people are going to have more shoes than the rest of us, they're going to have more cars than the rest of us, they're going to have more houses,” she said after a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire. “But they don't get a bigger share of democracy, especially in a Democratic primary. We need to be doing the face-to-face work that lifts every voice."

Bloomberg does not speak in his announcement video, which casts him as a successful businessman who came from humble roots and ultimately “put his money where his heart is” to effect change on the top policy issues of the day — gun violence, climate change, immigration and equality, among them.

Bloomberg has devoted tens of millions of dollars to pursue his policy priorities in recent years, producing measurable progress in cities and states across America. He has helped shutter 282 coal plants in the United States and organized a coalition of American cities on track to cut 75 million metric tons of carbon emissions by 2025.

But he is far from a left-wing ideologue.

Bloomberg has declined to embrace Medicare for All as a health care prescription or the “Green New Deal” to combat climate change, favoring a more pragmatic approach.

Still, he has endeared himself to many of the nation’s mayors, having made huge investments to help train local officials and encouraging them to take action on climate, guns and immigration in particular.

Ahead of Bloomberg’s presidential announcement, the mayors of Columbia, South Carolina, and Louisville, Kentucky, endorsed him. Despite that show of support from at least one prominent black leader, Bloomberg may have trouble building a multi-racial coalition early on given his turbulent record on race relations in New York.

He angered many minority voters during his 12 years in the New York City mayor’s office for embracing and defending the controversial “stop-and-frisk” police strategy, despite its disproportionate impact on people of color. Facing an African-American congregation this month in Brooklyn, Bloomberg apologized and acknowledged it often led to the detention of blacks and Latinos.

The apology was received skeptically by many prominent activists who noted that it was made as he was taking steps to enter the race.

The campaign will be headquartered in Manhattan and managed by longtime adviser Kevin Sheekey. Wolfson will also play a senior role.

Bloomberg’s team did not establish a super PAC before launching the campaign, preferring to run the primary campaign and a simultaneous set of general election-focused moves like the anti-Trump internet ads and voter registration drive out of the same office.

The path ahead may be decidedly uphill and unfamiliar.

Bloomberg plans to bypass the first four states on the primary calendar — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — and focus instead on the crush of states that vote on Super Tuesday and beyond. It's a strategy that acknowledges the limitations of entering the race at this late stage and the opportunities afforded by his vast personal wealth.

His team has noted that several candidates have devoted much of the year to building support on the ground in the earliest states, and Bloomberg needs to be realistic about where he can make up ground.

Nearly a quarter of primary delegates are up for grabs in the March 3 Super Tuesday contests, which have gotten far less attention so far.

Bloomberg has openly considered a presidential bid before, but as an independent. He declined to enter the 2016 contest only after deciding there was no path to victory without the backing of a major political party.

He explored a run earlier this year, too, but decided there was no path with establishment-favorite Joe Biden in the race. Biden’s perceived weakness, along with the rise of progressive firebrand Warren, convinced him to reconsider.

“We believe that voters are increasingly concerned that the field is not well positioned to defeat Donald Trump,” Wolfson said of Bloomberg’s decision to change his mind.

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway actually praised Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor when asked about his announcement Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” But she said his entrance into the 2020 race “means the Democratic field is underwhelming.”

Should Bloomberg ultimately become the nominee to take on Trump, she said, “We’re ready.”

Conway cast doubt on whether he’d be welcomed by Democratic voters.

Initially registered as a Democrat, Bloomberg, a Massachusetts native, filed paperwork to change his voter registration to Republican in 2000 before his first run for New York City mayor, according to a spokesman. In June 2007, he unenrolled from the GOP, having no formal party affiliation until he registered again as a Democrat this October.

While some will question his newfound commitment to Democrats, he vowed allegiance to the party in an Associated Press interview earlier in the year, saying, “I will be a Democrat for the rest of my life.”

__

Associated Press writer Hunter Woodall in Manchester, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Local/State News, Politics, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
For some rural US TV viewers, local news is anything but
In many rural corners of America, television viewers who want to watch local news are instead stuck with irrelevant stories from out-of-state stations hundreds of miles away
10:16AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Massive turnout in Hong Kong vote seen as protest referendum
Polls have closed with a massive turnout in a Hong Kong election seen as a barometer of public support for pro-democracy protests that had rocked the semi-autonomous Chinese territory for more than five months.
10:15AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Boris Johnson unveils election platform, promises Brexit
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is using the launch of his Conservative Party platform to claim that his is the only party in the Dec. 12 election that will complete the Brexit process
10:07AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Israeli PM’s party support is key to his political survival
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led a noticeably tense Cabinet meeting after the country’s attorney general announced Netanyahu would be indicted
8:57AM ( 1 hour ago )
Tougher US asylum policy follows in Europe's footsteps
As claims soar, US joins wealthy countries in Europe and elsewhere to make asylum harder to obtain
7:20AM ( 3 hours ago )
Pope in Hiroshima: Use and possession of atom bomb ‘immoral’
Pope Francis has traveled to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to demand world powers renounce their nuclear arsenals, declaring the use and possession of atomic bombs an “immoral” crime and a dangerous waste
7:16AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
Wilder stops Ortiz in heavyweight title rematch
Deontay Wilder landed a vicious right hand to stop Luis Ortiz in the seventh round to retain his heavyweight title and set up a lucrative rematch with Tyson Fury in February
1:08AM ( 9 hours ago )
She can’t vote, but 2020 Democrats want her support anyway
Democratic presidential candidates hoping to win in early state Nevada are courting local luminaries and politicians, but one of the biggest endorsements they’re hoping to earn in the western state is from a woman who cannot vote
12:30AM ( 9 hours ago )
Governor: Alabama sheriff shot, killed in line of duty
Alabama’s governor says a county sheriff has been shot and “tragically killed” in line of duty
11:58PM ( 10 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Bloomberg vows to refuse donations, presidential salary
New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg vows to refuse donations, presidential salary as 2020 bid appears imminent
11:51PM ( 10 hours ago )
Bolivian lawmakers approve new elections, bar ex-president
Bolivian lawmakers have unanimously approved a measure calling for new presidential elections that would exclude ousted leader Evo Morales _ a key step toward pacifying a nation rocked by unrest since an Oct. 20 marred by reported irregularities
10:40PM ( 11 hours ago )
Pence works to reassure Kurdish allies in surprise Iraq trip
Vice President Mike Pence sought to reassure the United States’ Kurdish allies in an unannounced trip to Iraq on Saturday, the highest-level American trip since President Donald Trump ordered a pullback of U.S. forces in Syria two months ago
9:40PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Uruguay’s leftist government at risk in election
A 15-year string of center-left governments is on the line as Uruguay’s Broad Front coalition faces a presidential runoff election challenge from a united opposition
8:37AM ( 1 hour ago )
Namibia’s ruling party faces unexpectedly challenging vote
Namibia’s ruling party faces unexpectedly challenging vote as dentist rallies frustrated youth
4:27AM ( 5 hours ago )
Bloomberg vows to refuse donations, presidential salary
New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg vows to refuse donations, presidential salary as 2020 announcement appears imminent
11:17AM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Elections
Biden files papers for South Carolina presidential primary
Joe Biden has made his South Carolina presidential bid official, with the former vice president filing his paperwork as a candidate in next year’s Democratic primary during a stop Friday at a soul food restaurant in Abbeville
5:03PM ( 1 day ago )
Biden snares black leader’s endorsement in Buttigieg’s town
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has sent a message to Pete Buttigieg with three endorsements from black Indiana leaders, including one from the South Bend mayor’s hometown
3:09PM ( 1 day ago )
Beshear says avoiding national politics fueled Kentucky win
Democrat Andy Beshear says he won the governor’s race in Republican-leaning Kentucky by focusing on voters’ anxieties and not the “24-hour cable news cycle.”
3:04PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
Quid pro quo, domestic errands: Takeaways from impeachment
2 weeks of House impeachment hearings produce at times riveting testimony
6:27AM ( 2 days ago )
Former White House aide Hill is no-nonsense Russia analyst
Fiona Hill, Russia analyst with sharp eye for detail, testifies about her alarm over White House Ukraine events
4:12AM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Impeachment hearings wrap up for the week
Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have made their closing arguments as they end the final impeachment hearing of the week
4:43PM ( 2 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
Merkel’s heir apparent takes on critics, wins applause
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s embattled heir apparent sought to silence critics Friday, challenging members of the Christian Democratic Party to replace her if they didn’t like the direction she was taking the party as its leader
10:22AM ( 2 days ago )
Merkel says climate change, digitalization top challenges
Taking the stage exactly 14 years after becoming German chancellor, Angela Merkel has told party faithful in Leipzig she had never imagined being in power for so long, but that the work isn’t done
6:42AM ( 2 days ago )
Democrats revive ‘Medicare for All’ fight at Atlanta debate
The top Democratic presidential candidates are clashing over a “Medicare for All” plan to provide universal, government-run health insurance _ again
10:59PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
AP sources: Ex-Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack plans to endorse Biden
Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack plans to publicly endorse former Vice President Joe Biden for president on Saturday
4:06PM ( 1 day ago )
Farage tells UK voters his party is not just about Brexit
Britain’s stalled departure from the European Union is taking a temporary back seat in Britain’s election campaign, as parties try to woo voters with their domestic policies
7:03AM ( 2 days ago )
NBC’s issues aren’t addressed despite candidates’ letter
A day after four presidential candidates publicly called on NBC to agree to an independent probe of sexual misconduct issues, it wasn’t addressed during a presidential debate
10:39AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
For some rural US TV viewers, local news is anything but
In many rural corners of America, television viewers who want to watch local news are instead stuck with irrelevant stories from out-of-state stations hundreds of miles away
10:16AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Massive turnout in Hong Kong vote seen as protest referendum
Polls have closed with a massive turnout in a Hong Kong election seen as a barometer of public support for pro-democracy protests that had rocked the semi-autonomous Chinese territory for more than five months.
10:15AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Boris Johnson unveils election platform, promises Brexit
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is using the launch of his Conservative Party platform to claim that his is the only party in the Dec. 12 election that will complete the Brexit process
10:07AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Romania’s Iohannis hopes for 2nd term in presidential runoff
Romania’s Klaus Iohannis hopes for 2nd term a country votes in presidential runoff
10:03AM ( 23 minutes ago )
2 dead, highway collapses as floods pound France, Italy
At least two people were killed in France and a stretch of elevated highway collapsed in Italy as heavy rains pounded the region over the weekend
9:55AM ( 32 minutes ago )