Michael Bloomberg’s top political adviser announced late Friday that the former New York City mayor and billionaire business mogul won’t campaign in the early voting presidential primary and caucus states if he enters the 2020 Democratic race for president.
"If we run, we are confident we can win in states voting on Super Tuesday and beyond, where we will start on an even footing. But the late timing of our entry means that many candidates already have a big head start in the four early states, where they've spent months and months campaigning and spending money,” Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson said in a statement.
“We have enormous respect for the Democratic primary process and many friends in those states, but our plan is to run a broad-based, national campaign,” he added.
Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina are the first four states to hold contests in the presidential nominating calendar. They are scheduled to hold their caucuses and primaries in February of next year, ahead of the rest of the country.
Top-tier candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Vice President Joe Biden, and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg have built up strong organizations – with plenty of boots on the ground – in the early voting states.
Bloomberg flirted with a presidential bid early this year – including a swing through New Hampshire – but in March ruled out a 2020 White House run. His top advisers said on Thursday that he changed his mind because he worried the current crop of 2020 hopefuls were not “well positioned” to beat President Trump next November.
On Friday, Bloomberg aides filed paperwork in Alabama to designate him as a candidate in that state’s Democratic presidential primary just ahead of the deadline.
But Bloomberg won’t travel to New Hampshire before next Friday’s deadline for candidates to place their name on the ballot in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
Minutes after Bloomberg’s announcement, New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley responded.
“We are disappointed and frankly very surprised that any candidate would launch a campaign for the White House where their path doesn't run through New Hampshire or any of the other early states,” Buckley wrote.
“New Hampshire and other early state voters are some of the most engaged voters in the country," the longtime state party chair added. "They ask tough questions that prepare the candidates for what's to come in the general election. It's unfortunate that Michael Bloomberg doesn't want to participate in this invaluable, important, and unique primary process and be tested the same way that the other Democratic candidates have been and will be."