After months of speculation, former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg made it official: he's running for president. Bloomberg, 77, who enters the race more than two years after former Rep. John Delaney became the first Democrat to announce his bid for president, brings a huge personal fortune to the race as well as moderate political views. He said he won't take donations and is running "to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America."
The former Republican plans to skip early states like Iowa and New Hampshire and focus on Super Tuesday states, which offer about 40 percent of the total number of delegates.
Bloomberg will likely take heat from progressives for his past stances on criminal justice issues, inappropriate comments about women, and his personal wealth. New York’s 'Stop-and-Frisk' policy during his mayoral term, which ended in 2013, led to a disproportionate number of black and Latino men being stopped by city police, a policy he apologized for just last week.
On his campaign website, Bloomberg said he will outline plans to deal with a variety of issues, including "raising taxes on wealthy individuals like me," possibly a response to criticism of his $50 billion fortune. Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday "multibillionaires like Mr. Bloomberg are not going to get very far in this election," and Tom Steyer, another 2020 billionaire candidate called on Bloomberg to back a wealth tax. In an opinion article, Steyer said Bloomberg should "support a wealth tax or drop out." Steyer's proposal adds a 1 percent annual tax on the wealthiest top 0.1 percent of Americans.
From the outset, Bloomberg surprised rival campaigns by reserving more than $30 million to spend on airtime for commercials. His ad campaign will be run by a former Facebook executive.
Journalists at Bloomberg, the financial data company owned largely by the now-candidate, were told in a memo that the company plans to cover its eponymous founder's foray into presidential politics, but carefully.
"We will write about virtually all aspects of this presidential contest in much the same way as we have done so far," John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief at Bloomberg News, wrote in a note to staffers.
After laying out the complexities of covering his boss, Micklethwait described how the outlet plans to cover the 2020 election. Bloomberg News will neither investigate "Mike," as Micklethwait referred to the candidate throughout the letter, nor his Democratic rivals.
He noted the editorials have "reflected" Bloomberg's views and so will suspend the editorial board. Additionally, he announced two executive editors of Bloomberg Opinion will join the campaign.
"We will describe who is winning and who is losing," Micklethwait wrote. "We will look at policies and their consequences. We will carry polls, we will interview candidates, and we will track their campaigns, including Mike's. We have already assigned a reporter to follow his campaign (just as we did when Mike was in City Hall). And in the stories we write on the presidential contest, we will make clear that our owner is now a candidate."