Today, billionaire Michael Bloomberg filed with the FEC to run for president. It wasn’t an announcement; he was required to file with the FEC once he filed to be on the ballot in Alabama within 15 days. But it keeps the door open, and that’s the point. He wants the door to remain open for as long as possible so he can swoop in and save the day if he feels the day needs to be saved for the Democrats.
Last night’s debate didn’t dissuade him. The “moderate” frontrunner in the race, former Vice President Joe Biden, had an awful debate with another major patented gaffe. Bloomberg feels the other frontrunners, with the possible exception of Pete Buttigieg, are too radical to win the election or to run the country properly if they did win.
The filing is the latest sign that the former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman could soon join the crowded Democratic nominating contest. He is expected to announce a decision in the coming days.
Bloomberg has already filed to appear on the Democratic primary ballot in three states, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas, and his team has indicated that he would not contest the traditional early-state contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, an acknowledgment of what would be a late entry to the race.
If Bloomberg decides to enter the campaign, his impact on the nominating contest would likely not be apparent until after those early state contests.
But there’s more to this than just Bloomberg sitting on the fence. It’s a good strategic move for him to hop into the race later. If he hops in now, he will likely lose throughout the first month of primary season. He has no ground game in the early states, which means he probably doesn’t have enough time to compete. Rather than take the losses and lose momentum, he’s looking to the first Super Tuesday as the target for him to come in and win the nomination in one fell swoop.
A big showing on Super Tuesday would likely solidify his possibility for winning the nomination in the states following it, especially if Biden keeps failing at everything and Buttigieg continues to fail at inspiring African-American voters. And if anyone can have a quick entry with impact, it’s the guy with over $50 billion behind him.
Everything going forward for Bloomberg will be testing the waters and stoking interest in his potential run. He’s a data guy, so getting reactions to his every move, including today’s FEC filing, will go a long way to either pushing him to run or dissuading him from trying. How the people react to him and the other candidates will help him make the decision. His deadline is likely mid-February, two weeks before Super Tuesday, at which point he would blitz the Super Tuesday states and dominate the news cycle while avoiding political scrutiny for the months preceding his announcement. It’s actually a pretty brilliant strategy.
At this point, the only person who can likely stop a Bloomberg run is if Buttigieg can take control of the board until then. He’s rising in the polls rapidly, but a steady continuous rise may be the only thing to dissuade Bloomberg from playing hero.
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