- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 21, 2019

Former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Thursday moved one step closer to a Democratic presidential run, filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.

Mr. Bloomberg’s team said the filing does not necessarily mean he will jump into the crowded contest for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, but it gets the billionaire businessman ready for a White House run after years of flirting with the idea. He has also been filing paperwork to get on the presidential primary ballot in multiple states next year.

His potential run, as well as former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s late entry into the race, is indicative of dissatisfaction in some quarters of the Democratic Party with the current crop of candidates.

Mr. Bloomberg’s team filed the paperwork a day after former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who had long been considered a front-runner for the nomination, delivered an uneven performance at Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta.

Both Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Patrick are in a race to hit the necessary polling and fundraising requirements to qualify for the next debate, though Mr. Bloomberg has the luxury of self-funding a campaign and getting his message out in other ways.

“He’s not likely to make any of the debates because … he’s hinted that he’s not going to raise money at all,” Democratic strategist Brad Bannon said. “The reality is if Bloomberg’s going to get anywhere, it’s because he has millions of dollars to spend.”

Mr. Bloomberg has been throwing some of his money at Democratic political causes in recent days.

His team said this week that Mr. Bloomberg is planning to spend $15 million to 20 million on voter registration efforts in the key presidential states of Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin, according to The Associated Press.

That came on the heels of a $100 million spending pledge on anti-Trump digital ads in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Mr. Bloomberg has been all over the map politically. He had been a Democrat before switching to the Republican Party for his 2001 mayoral run. He later became an independent before re-registering as a Democrat ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Though Mr. Bloomberg’s team has indicated he’s looking beyond the earliest presidential states like Iowa and New Hampshire, he and Mr. Patrick are still faced with a truncated calendar to assemble teams and get their messages out to voters.

Mr. Bloomberg attracted 1% support among likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, according to an Iowa State University/Civiqs poll released Thursday. Mr. Patrick was at 0%.

“What’s clear from our data is that nobody wanted either of them in the race,” said Dave Peterson, an ISU professor who organizes the poll.

Mr. Bloomberg is in the “top tier” of candidates whom voters don’t want, Mr. Peterson said.

“It seriously outpaces the number of voters who are supporting him, put him [as a] second choice, or are considering him,” he said.

Mr. Patrick also suffered something of an indignity for a declared presidential candidate this week when he had to scrap a planned appearance at Morehouse College in Atlanta on Wednesday when it was clear that only a few people were showing up.

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