Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending between $15 million and $20 million on a 2020 voter registration initiative despite not yet officially declaring his candidacy for the Democratic nomination to the presidency.
The investment, which was confirmed by Bloomberg’s team on Wednesday, will target voters in battleground states that generally lean left, including African Americans, Asians, Latinos, younger voters, and rural voters, and seeks to weaken President Donald Trump’s chances at reelection, according to The Associated Press.
The news of the voter registration effort comes less than a week after Bloomberg announced that he will be spending $100 million on a digital ad campaign against Trump. Bloomberg himself is not featured in the ad beyond the legally mandated disclaimers, but rather the ads will focus on attacking the incumbent president
The high-priced ticket item is especially unique considering that it would potentially be in addition to any ads Bloomberg might purchase to promote his own candidacy.
“Mike is taking the fight directly to Trump where it matters most, in general election battleground states,” said Bloomberg spokesman Jason Schechter. “He did it last week through a $100 million digital ad buy. He’s doing it this week at the ballot box.”
The billionaire businessman, who filed as a Democratic presidential candidate in Alabama, Arkansas, and most recently Texas earlier in November because of the states’ early filing deadline, has not yet made an official declaration of a presidential run. However, he has been especially critical of the current 2020 Democratic primary field for the candidates’ dishonesty with the American people and their unwillingness to work across the aisle with their political adversaries.
“You know, I have my reservations about the people running and the way they are campaigning, and the promises they are making that they can’t fulfill, and their unwillingness to really admit what is possible and what is not, and their inconsistency from day to day and location after location,” Bloomberg said during an interview with CBS News in October. “This is not the way to run a railroad.”
“This country is in real trouble. We need somebody to pull people together,” he continued. “And when they say ‘I’m not going to talk to somebody from across the aisle’ — this is our country. What do you mean you’re not going to talk to somebody from across the aisle? We’ve got to work together. And I don’t see that.”
CNBC previously reported that Bloomberg, who has an estimated net worth of more than $50 billion, has been prepared to spend more than the $100 million that he spent while he was running for mayor of New York City. In addition to Bloomberg entering the presidential race with a well-funded campaign, he would also have a significant amount of name recognition.
“If Mike runs, we’re going to try to do what we can to run two campaigns simultaneously,” Howard Wolfson, a top Bloomberg political adviser, told The AP. “One campaign is a primary campaign, and there are a lot of great people in that contest and a lot of focus and activity around that.”
“But at the same time, there’s another campaign going on that the president has begun that ends in November that also needs to be engaged,” he continued. “And one of the arguments that we would make on behalf of Mike to primary voters is that he is able to wage these two campaigns simultaneously — effectively and simultaneously.”