Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg filed an official statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Thursday, in what is seen as significant step toward a potential bid for the presidency in 2020.
The FEC filing states that Bloomberg will be seeking the office of the presidency and running in the Democratic primary to do so. However, Bloomberg has not formally declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination to the presidency.
Earlier in November the billionaire businessman filed to run as a Democratic presidential candidate in Alabama, Arkansas, and most recently, Texas, because of the states’ early filing deadlines. His team acknowledged that he would not be running in the early state primaries and caucuses, which consists of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
Some of Bloomberg’s advisors downplayed the FEC’s statement of candidacy, telling The Washington Post that it is just another step in the direction of a potential bid, but that the financier has not made a final decision.
However, Bloomberg 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 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.”
The move, however, comes only a day after reports surfaced that Bloomberg is spending between $15 million and $20 million on a 2020 voter registration initiative in battleground states to weaken President Donald Trump’s election efforts. And only a week prior, Bloomberg revealed 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, making the high-priced ticket item especially unique considering that it would potentially be in addition to any ads he might purchase to promote his own candidacy.
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, according to CNBC. In addition to Bloomberg entering the presidential race with a well-funded campaign, he would also have a significant amount of name recognition.
“This is going to be a unique campaign, with a real focus on grass-roots organizing making sure people are on the ground engaging with voters and engaging with citizens, at the same time investing in paid media and an unprecedented digital strategy,” Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Stephen Benjamin told WaPo. Benjamin has reportedly been behind the scenes working on a potential Bloomberg presidential campaign. He is likely to co-chair the campaign if Bloomberg ultimately decides to run.