Bloomberg opens door to 2020 pres­i­den­tial run

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Julie Pace

The billionair­e former mayor of New York and Johns Hop­kins alum­nus is sig­nal­ing his dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the cur­rent crop of can­di­dates.

WASH­ING­TON — Michael Bloomberg, the billionair­e former mayor of New York City, is open­ing the door to a 2020 Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, sig­nal­ing his dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the cur­rent crop of can­di­dates vy­ing to take on Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Bloomberg, who ini­tially ruled out a 2020 run, has not made a fi­nal de­ci­sion on whether to run, ac­cord­ing to ad­vis­ers, but he is tak­ing steps to­ward a cam­paign, in­clud­ing fil­ing to get on the bal­lot in Alabama’s March 3 pres­i­den­tial pri­mary. Alabama has an early fil­ing dead­line and is among the states that vote on Su­per Tues­day, named for the large num­ber of state con­tests that day.

In a state­ment on Thurs­day, Bloomberg ad­viser Howard Wolf­son said the former mayor is wor­ried that the cur­rent crop of Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates is “not well po­si­tioned” to de­feat Trump.

With im­mense per­sonal wealth, Bloomberg could quickly build out a ro­bust cam­paign op­er­a­tion across the coun­try. He would pose an im­me­di­ate ide­o­log­i­cal chal­lenge to former Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, who is run­ning as a mod­er­ate and hopes to ap­peal to in­de­pen­dents and Re­pub­li­cans who have soured on Trump.

Bloomberg is a former Re­pub­li­can-turned in­de­pen­dent who reg­is­tered as a Demo­crat last year. He ac­tively sup­ported Hil­lary

Clin­ton in 2016 and blasted Trump, his fel­low New Yorker, as a con man who over­in­flates his busi­ness suc­cess.

Bloomberg has long flirted with a pres­i­den­tial run but never launched a cam­paign. He orig­i­nally passed on the 2020 elec­tion in part be­cause of Bi­den’s ex­pected strength in the field.

His de­ci­sion to re­con­sider sug­gests he shares the con­cerns of other Democrats who are in­creas­ingly wor­ried about the former vice pres­i­dent’s fundrais­ing and mes­sag­ing, par­tic­u­larly given the rise of lib­eral Mas­sachusetts Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren.

Bloomberg would have to swiftly make up ground to com­pete with can­di­dates like Bi­den, War­ren and oth­ers, who have spent months trav­el­ing the coun­try meet­ing vot­ers.

There is no fil­ing re­quire­ment for a can­di­date to run in the Iowa cau­cuses A can­di­date can en­ter the race for the Feb. 3 lead­off con­test at any time.

JOHN LOCHER/AP

Michael Bloomberg is tak­ing steps to­ward a cam­paign, in­clud­ing fil­ing to get on the Alabama pri­mary bal­lot.

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