Bloomberg won’t decide on 2020 until March at the earliest

Michael Bloomberg: Government shutdown a failure of ‘presidential leadership’
POOL via CNN

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will not decide on whether to run for president in 2020 until March at the earliest, according to a person familiar with his planning.

As recently as last week, Bloomberg said he’d decide by the end of February. Now he and his team want to wait and see how the growing field of Democratic candidates shapes up, said the person. Bloomberg’s advisers also think it would be good to put some distance between other candidates’ announcements during the last several weeks and his decision.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s decision is a factor but not the only one, stressed the person. The two men haven’t spoken, a person familiar said.

The billionaire philanthropist has ramped up attacks on President Donald Trump, criticizing the administration’s policies, and he threw his financial weight behind wresting control of Congress from the Republicans. Bloomberg’s political action committee spent more than $100 million to support Democratic candidates during the midterms.

Bloomberg is encouraged by the outcome of the midterm elections.

His PAC supported 24 candidates, and 21 one of them won. That’s proof that Bloomberg could have a meaningful impact from the outside, said a person familiar with his thinking.

If Bloomberg doesn’t run, he’ll throw the full force of his financial weight behind a data-driven outside operation to help defeat Trump. This venture, which doesn’t have a budget but could spend at least $500 million, will also buy traditional advertising, according to a person familiar with the plan.

A fixture on the national and international political stage, Bloomberg has raised his profile by crisscrossing the country to promote his anti-Trump agenda, announcing grants to cities fighting climate change and pressing for sensible gun laws. Last month, he stoked additional speculation about a possible presidential run after visiting New Hampshire with a schedule that mimicked a campaign stop.

His New Hampshire visit was packed with political events, starting with a question-and-answer session at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, a popular campaign destination. In Nashua, he toured the oldest pin manufacturer in the country and ate pizza with factory employees there. Bloomberg also met with well-connected New Hampshire Democrat Billy Shaheen, husband of Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

Bloomberg will spend the next several weeks visiting other cities to talk to voters and local leaders.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg stopped in Washington, DC, to attend a premiere of his documentary on climate change, “Paris to Pittsburgh.” Before a reception for the film, Bloomberg met with Sen. Shaheen on the Hill, said the person.