Michael Bloomberg May Enter the 2020 Race, Even Though He Said He Wasn’t, but He Still Might Not

Make up your mind Mr. Mayor.

Considering the weakness of the current field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that the former mayor of New York City, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, is once again thinking of tossing his hat into the ring. Earlier this year, Bloomberg squashed talk of a possibly run. However, according to a statement provided to NPR by his adviser, Howard Wolfson, he is now “increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to defeat President Trump.” Wolfson added that Bloomberg views President Trump as “an unprecedented threat to our nation.”

Wolfson said that the former mayor spent heavily on the 2018 midterms and most recently on “this week’s off-year races in Virginia.”

“We now need 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. 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. 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,” said Wolfson.

If Bloomberg does decide on a run, it would immediately change the dynamics of the race, hurting Biden the most. Aside from drawing centrist support away from Biden, Bloomberg would be a self-financed candidate. That would hit Biden especially hard, because his campaign’s recent fundraising results have been lackluster at best.

Bloomberg would likely find himself leading the pack as the candidates head into the primary season. As I see it, his candidacy would pose the only real threat to a Trump victory.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell spoke to NPR’s Jessica Taylor about a possible Bloomberg run. Rendell, a Biden supporter, believes that Bloomberg “would be a fine president.” His concern is that “Bloomberg and Biden would split the moderate vote if the mayor entered the race. The trouble is he and Joe would have the same effect that Elizabeth [Warren] and Bernie [Sanders] are having: it would make it difficult for either of them to get to 50 percent.”

The New York Times reported that Bloomberg sent staffers to Alabama this week to “gather signatures to qualify for the primary there. Tomorrow is the last day for a candidate to formally enter the race in the state.

Rendell speculated that might have been “a holding action to see how Biden does in the early primaries.”

Rendell said, “It’s a smart thing to do. I’m a big Bloomberg fan. If he’s the alternative, and Joe was for some reason or another not in the race or didn’t have a chance to win, I’d be all for him. A lot of us would be for Bloomberg if Joe wasn’t in the race, but I don’t think Joe is going anywhere.”

If only he would.