Bloomberg’s New Hamp­shire event fu­els talk of pres­i­den­tial run

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - STATE NEWS - By Paul Stein­hauser

NASHUA, N.H. >> A quick stop by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Satur­day in the state that holds the first pri­mary in the race for the White House is spark­ing more spec­u­la­tion about a pos­si­ble White House bid by the bil­lion­aire me­dia com­pany founder and gun safety ad­vo­cate.

Bloomberg was the main at­trac­tion at the get-out­the-vote rally for six can­di­dates run­ning for New Hamp­shire’s state House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The event was or­ga­nized by Moms De­mand Ac­tion, an arm of Bloomberg’s Every­town for Gun Safety or­ga­ni­za­tion set up af­ter the 2012 Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School shoot­ings.

Bloomberg’s trip came just days af­ter he re-regis­tered as a Demo­crat af­ter years as a Repub­li­can and an in­de­pen­dent. Asked by The As­so­ci­ated Press if he has any timetable for de­cid­ing on a pres­i­den­tial bid, he said “right now I’m fo­cused on Novem­ber 6, plain and sim­ple.”

But he added that af­ter the midterm elec­tions, “we’ll see what hap­pens down the road.”

Speak­ing in front of dozens of Moms De­mand Ac­tion ac­tivists, many of them wear­ing the group’s red T-shirts, Bloomberg told the crowd “to­gether, Moms De­mand and Every­town have landed some big punches against the NRA. We haven’t knocked them out yet, not by a long­shot, but we’ve got them on the ropes. And while we’re get­ting stronger and stronger every day, they’re get­ting weaker.”

He also thanked gun safety ac­tivists in New Hamp­shire for help­ing to de­feat ear­lier this year in the State­house “two bad bills that would have forced col­leges to al­low guns on cam­pus and pun­ish cities and towns for en­act­ing strong guns laws. You did that. You did stop them.”

Bloomberg, who’s spent mil­lions of his own money this year to help elect Democrats in the midterms, said “we’ve got to send a mes­sage to elected of­fi­cials. Vote for com­mon­sense gun laws or we will throw you out.”

Prior to the event at Nashua City Hall, Bloomberg met with the city’s long­time ma­jor, Jim Donchess, who’s a mem­ber of Bloomberg’s May­ors Against Il­le­gal Guns group. He also met with Manch­ester Mayor Joyce Craig, a sup­porter of tighter gun re­stric­tions, and the six state leg­isla­tive can­di­dates who were en­dorsed by Moms De­mand Ac­tion.

While Novem­ber’s elec­tion and the is­sue of guns were the fo­cus of Bloomberg’s visit to the Gran­ite State, the trip fu­eled spec­u­la­tion that the 76-yearold former three-term New York City mayor is se­ri­ous about a 2020 pres­i­den­tial run. Bloomberg mulled, but de­cided against White House runs in 2008 and 2016.

Asked if the party he left nearly two decades ago has be­come in­creas­ingly lib­eral, he said “I don’t know that it’s moved fur­ther left. I think that’s con­ven­tional wis­dom by some peo­ple.”

In­stead, Bloomberg ar­gued that “there are an aw­ful lot of other peo­ple who say if you talk to Democrats, they’re much more cen­trist than peo­ple un­der­stand.”

Donchess told The As­so­ci­ated Press that if Bloomberg ul­ti­mately de­cides on run­ning for the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, he may fare well in New Hamp­shire thanks to his ad­vo­cacy on gun safety.

CH­ERYL SENTER — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg talks to a woman who lost her daugh­ter to gun vi­o­lence af­ter speak­ing at a rally at City Hall in Nashua, N.H., on Satur­day.

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