Former mayor is eye­ing Trump

Mercury (Hobart) - - WORLD -

MICHAEL Bloomberg, the billionair­e former mayor of New York City, is open­ing the door to a 2020 Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, warn­ing that the field of can­di­dates is ill-equipped to de­feat Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Mr Bloomberg, who ini­tially ruled out a 2020 run, has not made a fi­nal de­ci­sion on whether to jump into the race.

If he were to launch a cam­paign, it could dra­mat­i­cally re­shape the Demo­cratic con­test less than three months be­fore pri­mary vot­ing be­gins.

The 77-year-old (pic­tured) has spent the past few weeks talk­ing with prom­i­nent Democrats about the state of the 2020 field, ex­press­ing con­cerns about the steadi­ness of former Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den’s cam­paign and the rise of lib­eral Mas­sachusetts Se­na­tor El­iz­a­beth War­ren, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple with knowl­edge of those dis­cus­sions.

In re­cent days, he took steps to keep his op­tions open, in­clud­ing mov­ing to get on the pri­mary bal­lot in Alabama ahead of the state’s fil­ing dead­line be­fore the week­end.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, Bloomberg ad­viser Howard Wolf­son said the former mayor believes Mr Trump “rep­re­sents an un­prece­dented threat to our na­tion” and must be de­feated.

“But Mike is in­creas­ingly con­cerned that the cur­rent field of can­di­dates is not well po­si­tioned to do that,” Mr Wolf­son said.

Mr Bloomberg’s moves come as the Demo­cratic race en­ters a cru­cial phase. Mr Bi­den’s fron­trun­ner sta­tus has been vig­or­ously chal­lenged by Se­na­tor War­ren and Ver­mont Se­na­tor Bernie San­ders, who are flush with cash from small­dol­lar donors. But both are viewed by some Democrats as too lib­eral to win in an elec­tion face-off with Mr Trump.

Mr Bloomberg, a Re­pub­li­can-turned-in­de­pen­dent who reg­is­tered as a Demo­crat last year, has flirted with a pres­i­den­tial run be­fore but ul­ti­mately backed down.

Mr Bloomberg plunged his ef­forts – and his money – into gun con­trol ad­vo­cacy and cli­mate change ini­tia­tives. With huge per­sonal wealth, he could build a ro­bust cam­paign op­er­a­tion across the coun­try.

His ad­vis­ers ac­knowl­edge that his late en­try to the race could make com­pet­ing in states like Iowa and New Hamp­shire, which have been blan­keted by can­di­dates for nearly a year, dif­fi­cult. In­stead, they pre­viewed a strat­egy that would fo­cus more heav­ily on the March 3 “Su­per Tues­day” con­tests.

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