Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York and one of the wealthiest people in the world, announces he’s running for president

Michael Bloomberg -Nicolaus Czarnecki courtesy of Mike Bloomberg 2020

Michael Bloomberg announced on Sunday he is running for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president. The former three-term mayor of New York City has an estimated wealth of approximately $53 billion, making him the second billionaire seeking the Democratic nomination in this election cycle.

Bloomberg announced in an op-ed published in March by his own media company, Bloomberg LP, which includes Bloomberg News, that he would not run for president in 2020. Bloomberg wrote that he was confident he could beat Donald Trump in the general election, but was “clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination.”

“Should I devote the next two years to talking about my ideas and record, knowing that I might never win the Democratic nomination?” Bloomberg asked rhetorically. “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?”

In March, Bloomberg was convinced the answer was he should double down on his philanthropic work supporting gun control and fighting climate change. Now, he’s changed his mind.

Bloomberg didn’t mention his March op-ed, or his apparent change of mind, in the press release announcing his candidacy. Instead, the 77-year-old emphasized his desire to defeat Trump, and what he considers to be his unique skill set as leader in business, philanthropy and New York politics.

“I’ve spent my career bringing people together to tackle big problems — and fix them. It has worked well in business — and in running the country’s largest, most progressive city,” Bloomberg said in his announcement.

Left unsaid was that Bloomberg wasn’t a Democrat when he was mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013, even though he had been a Democrat until he decided to run.

“He was a Democrat until realizing he had a better shot at winning the mayoralty as a Republican,” Politico reported.

Before running for his third term, Bloomberg changed his registration to Independent, although he allowed his name to appear on the Republican line of the election ballot.

In October 2018, Bloomberg rejoined the Democrat Party.

Bloomberg didn’t address his party switches in his announcement, or the other major change of mind he’s had.

During a visit to Cedar Rapids in December 2018, Bloomberg told Radio Iowa that if he decided to run for president, he would either put his media company into a blind trust or sell it. He is doing neither. Instead, Bloomberg News simply won’t report on either Bloomberg or the other Democrats running for the nomination.

Bloomberg is the sole owner of the company, and has never permitted it to report on himself or his family.

“I happen to believe, in my heart of hearts, you can’t be independent and nobody’s going to believe that you’re independent,” Bloomberg told Radio Iowa during his Cedar Rapids visit, when asked about Bloomberg News not covering him. He added with a laugh, “And quite honestly, I don’t want the reporters I’m paying to write a bad story about me! I don’t want them to be independent.”

Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait explained the company’s approach to Bloomberg’s candidacy and the 2020 race in a memo to the news staff.

We will continue our tradition of not investigating Mike (and his family and foundation) and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries. We cannot treat Mike’s Democratic competitors differently from him. If other credible journalistic institutions publish investigative work on Mike or the other Democratic candidates, we will either publish those articles in full, or summarize them for our readers — and we will not hide them.

In his press release, Bloomberg didn’t outline any policies, but said he would offer plans over the course of the campaign.

Bloomberg kicks off his campaign with record-setting spending on media ad buys: $33 million over 10 days spent all across the country, but not in Iowa. Bloomberg is skipping the early states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — to concentrate on the states that vote on Super Tuesday and later.

Advisers to the Bloomberg campaign have said the candidate will self-fund his run. In 2018, Forbes estimated Bloomberg was the 10th wealthiest person in the world.

Michael Bloomberg is the 27th candidate to launch a campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Nine of those candidates have dropped out so far.

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