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Michael Bloomberg expected to file for Alabama 2020 presidential primary

Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman, will file for the Democratic presidential primary in Alabama, a Bloomberg spokesman told CNN.

Posted: Nov 8, 2019 7:10 AM
Updated: Nov 8, 2019 7:10 AM

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, after saying in March that he wouldn't run for president, is backtracking and preparing a potential run for a 2020 bid, a spokesman for the billionaire tells CNN.

Bloomberg is expected to file the necessary paperwork to get on the Democratic primary ballot in Alabama this week, the spokesman said, the clearest sign to date that the former mayor is seriously considering following through with something he has been weighing for weeks.

Despite preparing to file the necessary paperwork in Alabama, Bloomberg has yet to make a final decision on a run, the spokesman added.

Bloomberg's possible entrance comes as former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign struggles to break out of the Democratic field and as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a liberal lawmaker who has railed against billionaires like Bloomberg, rises in the Democratic primary campaign. A possible Bloomberg bid would be sure to dramatically shake up the Democratic primary process.

The reason Bloomberg is filing in Alabama is strictly because of the state's early filing deadline. Despite it not being an early nominating state -- Alabamans will pick their Democratic nominee on March 3 -- the state has a filing deadline on Friday.

Bloomberg has privately expressed concerns about the strength of the 2020 field, according to a person familiar with his thinking. And a Democratic strategist who has previously worked with Bloomberg said the former mayor is reconsidering his options, in part, because of the outcome in this week's elections in Virginia, where investments from his gun control group helped Democrats win control of the General Assembly.

The billionaire's decision to lay the groundwork for a run comes as Warren rises in the polls.

"He certainly disagrees with a lot of what she's put out there," said the person. "But he thinks she's smart and has put a lot of thought into her policies."

Bloomberg has been making calls to a handful of connected Democrats in the last 36 hours, including a handful in Iowa, CNN has learned. Iowa has no specific deadline to be eligible for the state's caucuses February 3, but campaigns have to designate representatives by the end of the year, a party official said.

A CNN/Des Moines Register poll in March found that Bloomberg was one of the least popular candidates considering running for the Democratic nomination. The poll found 27% of Democratic likely caucusgoers viewed him favorably, compared with 38% who had an unfavorable view.

Bloomberg publicly entertained a 2020 bid earlier this year, traveling the country to meet with voters and determine whether a run was possible. He told reporters during this public speculation that he was seriously considering a bid, to the point that he had decided he would self-fund a campaign.

"In terms of running for office, I ran three times. I used only my own money, so I didn't have to ask anybody what they wanted in return for a contribution," he told CNN in January. "The public liked that every time they elected me. And, if I ran again, I would do the same thing."

But Bloomberg decided in March that he would not run for president, even though he had been leaning toward it for months.

"As I've thought about a possible presidential campaign, the choice before me has become clear. Should I devote the next two years to talking about my ideas and record, knowing that I might never win the Democratic nomination? Or should I spend the next two years doubling down on the work that I am already leading and funding, and that I know can produce real and beneficial results for the country, right now," he wrote in an opinion piece. "I've come to realize that I'm less interested in talking than doing."

He added: "And I have concluded that, for now, the best way for me to help our country is by rolling up my sleeves and continuing to get work done."

Bloomberg, however, has begun to rethink that decision, in part, because he does not believe any of the current candidates are positioned to defeat Trump.

That is an unflattering indictment of the Democratic field by the former New York mayor, who found earlier this year that there would be a narrow path to victory with Biden in the race. Since then, however, Biden's campaign has failed to take off, struggling to both capture the Democratic base and to raise money, and Bloomberg's possible entry will represent a direct threat to the former vice president.

Howard Wolfson, Bloomberg's spokesman, said Bloomberg wants to "finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated."

"But Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that," Wolfson said. "If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America's biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America's toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist."

Wolfson added: "Based on his record of accomplishment, leadership and his ability to bring people together to drive change, Mike would be able to take the fight to Trump and win."

A Trump campaign source concedes that Bloomberg entering the race could pose a threat to the President, as Bloomberg is a fellow New York entrepreneur who is wealthier than Trump.

But the source says it could also be a good thing for Trump because Democrats would likely be preoccupied with taking Bloomberg down rather than focusing their fire on the President.

The source also says Bloomberg hasn't been battle-tested in the same way Trump has, so it remains to be seen if he can withstand the scrutiny that being in a presidential race brings. "Let's see how well he can take a punch," the source says.

Bloomberg's possible run would be met with a series of serious questions from the Democratic base.

Rather than an asset, Bloomberg's wealth could be considered a knock against him. Candidates like Warren and others have decried self-funding campaigns and run hard against the impact that money has in politics.

When Bloomberg considered a run earlier this year, a number of Democratic operatives told CNN they believed that a Bloomberg campaign would be doomed by the mayor's positions on policing, ties to Wall Street and the fact that he had spent much of his time in politics as a Republican and independent.

But Bloomberg also would bring considerable strengths to a campaign, including his work on climate change and guns and the fact that he has spent millions on Democratic causes for years.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320292

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22299271
Hinds20782424
Harrison18455317
Rankin13933282
Jackson13740249
Madison10276225
Lee10068176
Jones8475167
Forrest7845153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6524150
Lamar636688
Lafayette6315121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4842133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4610148
Marshall4576105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc426173
Monroe4163136
Union415977
Neshoba4066180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3374111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314771
Adams308586
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292468
Prentiss284461
Leake272474
Marion271480
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232469
Winston230382
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210759
Holmes190574
Stone188833
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135547
Greene131934
Lawrence131424
Montgomery128943
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126542
Carroll122330
Webster115132
Jefferson Davis108534
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79218
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549394

Reported Deaths: 11328
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810851571
Mobile42180832
Madison35733524
Tuscaloosa26186460
Shelby25638255
Montgomery25103615
Baldwin21921314
Lee16301176
Calhoun14725329
Morgan14650286
Etowah14192364
Marshall12465230
Houston10798289
Elmore10302214
Limestone10191157
St. Clair10166251
Cullman9975201
Lauderdale9621250
DeKalb8978190
Talladega8467184
Walker7351281
Autauga7244113
Jackson6993113
Blount6957139
Colbert6418140
Coffee5650128
Dale4931116
Russell455241
Chilton4476116
Franklin432082
Covington4283123
Tallapoosa4137155
Escambia402380
Chambers3731124
Dallas3609158
Clarke353361
Marion3264107
Pike314878
Lawrence3135100
Winston283672
Bibb268664
Geneva258782
Marengo250566
Pickens237062
Barbour234460
Hale227078
Butler225071
Fayette219763
Henry194844
Randolph187744
Cherokee187545
Monroe181041
Washington170639
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156157
Cleburne153744
Lamar147237
Lowndes142154
Wilcox126830
Bullock124642
Conecuh113830
Coosa112129
Perry108826
Sumter106032
Greene93734
Choctaw62125
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