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Wednesday 27 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# road to the white house
New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg launches US presidential bid
The 77-year-old officially launched his campaign online this morning.

election-2020-bloomberg John Locher / AP Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (file photo) John Locher / AP / AP

BILLIONAIRE AND FORMER New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has formally launched a Democratic bid to become the next US president.

The 77-year-old, one of the world’s richest men and a former Republican, announced his candidacy on Sunday in a written statement posted on a campaign website.

The co-founder and CEO of the media company that shares his name is expected to follow this up with a massive advertising campaign which will blanket airways in key primary states across the US.

“I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America,” Bloomberg wrote.

“We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions,” he continued.

“He represents an existential threat to our country and our values. If he wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage.”

Bloomberg’s entrance comes just ten weeks before primary voting begins, an unorthodox move that reflects anxiety within the Democratic Party about the strength of its current candidates.

As a centrist with ties to Wall Street, Bloomberg is expected to struggle among the party’s progressive base.

He became a Democrat only last year, but his resources and moderate profile could be appealing in the party’s ongoing primary contest.

Forbes ranked Bloomberg as the 11th-richest person in the world last year with a net worth of roughly $50 billion (around €45 billion). Trump, by contrast, was ranked 259th with a net worth of just over $3 billion (€2.7 billion).

Rivals ‘disgusted’

Bloomberg has already vowed to spend at least $150 million (€136 million) of his fortune to mount a campaign, including on internet ads attacking Trump, a voter registration drive targeting minorities, and an initial round of television ads.

He did not say how much he would be willing to spend overall on his presidential ambitions, but a senior adviser, Howard Wolfson, said: “Whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump.”

Wolfson also said that Bloomberg would not accept a single political donation for his campaign or take a salary should he become president.

Even before the announcement was final, Democratic rivals like Bernie Sanders pounced on Bloomberg’s plans to rely on his personal fortune.

“I’m disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy elections,” Sanders tweeted on Friday.

Elizabeth Warren, another leading progressive candidate, also slammed Bloomberg on Saturday for trying to buy the presidency.

“I understand that rich people are going to have more shoes than the rest of us, they’re going to have more cars than the rest of us, they’re going to have more houses,” she said after a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire.

“But they don’t get a bigger share of democracy, especially in a Democratic primary. We need to be doing the face-to-face work that lifts every voice.”

Bloomberg has openly considered a presidential bid before, but as an independent. He declined to enter the 2016 contest only after deciding there was no path to victory without the backing of a major political party.

He explored a run earlier this year, too, but decided there was no path with establishment-favorite Joe Biden in the race.

But Biden’s perceived weakness, along with the rise of progressive firebrand Warren, convinced him to reconsider.

“We believe that voters are increasingly concerned that the field is not well positioned to defeat Donald Trump,” Wolfson said of Bloomberg’s decision to change his mind.

His entry is expected to bloat an already crowded field of contenders, with more than a dozen candidates currently vying for the right to take on Trump as the Democratic nominee.

 With reporting from - © AFP 2019

Associated Foreign Press
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