Former New York City mayor and current gun control sugar daddy Michael Bloomberg is expected to file for the Democratic primary in Alabama today, ahead of a filing deadline. Bloomberg has been weighing launching his own presidential campaign, based on the recent lackluster support for Joe Biden, but filing for the primary would be the first concrete step the anti-gun activist and billionaire would take towards a formal campaign launch.
“He’s tired of being the almost-ran,” said one former Bloomberg adviser on Thursday after the New York Post reported news of his moves. “Mortality is weighing heavily on him. This is the last time that he can run.”
Bloomberg will almost certainly not qualify for the next debate in Atlanta on Nov. 20 and he will likely have to spend tens of millions of dollars in the next few weeks to make the debate stage in December, potentially setting a record for campaign spending in a short amount of time. His current wealth is estimated at $52 billion, per Forbes.
Bloomberg will have an almost unlimited amount of funds to spend on his campaign, if he does decide to go ahead with a run. The question is, where exactly does he fit in with the Democrats these days?
Asked why Bloomberg changed his mind and whether he was underwhelmed by Biden’s performance on the trail, an aide said that “it’s not about any one candidate.” But the aide added: “He is worried about the state of the Democratic primary campaign and the possibility that we could lose in November. He wants to avoid that more than anything else.”
Bloomberg’s money also could further sharpen the existing divisions in the field between the left-wing, populist candidates and more moderate, pragmatic ones. While advisers to Biden and Buttigieg declined to comment on Bloomberg’s entry, Sanders and Warren’s teams reacted with near glee at the potential contrast he would offer.
“More billionaires seeking more political power surely isn’t the change American needs,” said Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir. Sanders himself weighed in on Twitter, saying “[t]he billionaire class is scared and they should be scared.”
Warren welcomed Bloomberg to the race on Twitter and linked to a page about her wealth tax, adding: “If you’re looking for policy plans that will make a huge difference for working people and which are very popular, start here.”
Michael Bloomberg is a billionaire who’s opposed to Warren’s weath tax and believes in things like “stop and frisk”. Sure, he’s the gun control kingpin, but so what? Virtually every Democrat running for president is anti-gun as well. That doesn’t differentiate Bloomberg from the candidates that have been on the stump for nearly a year now. If Biden is slipping in the polls, why would Mike Bloomberg do any better?
I continue to think that, despite the news about Bloomberg filing for the Alabama primary, he eventually will opt out of a full-blown presidential run. The only thing that makes me hesitate in making that prediction is Bloomberg’s ego. It’s clear he wants to be president, and this will be the last cycle that he could possibly be a viable candidate, so why not jump in, spend a billion dollars of his $52-billion fortune, and see what happens?
With Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, Bloomberg already has a grassroots team on the ground in 50 states, and he’d almost certainly use those organizations as the building blocks of his on-the-ground efforts in the early primary states. I wouldn’t expect him to announce Shannon Watts as his running mate, but if Bloomberg does decide to formally launch a presidential campaign, expect it to rely heavily on the nationwide network of gun control activists he’s built over the past few years.