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Michael Bloomberg Joins Democratic Field for President

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Mr. Bloomberg’s candidacy has the potential to reshape the primary in a number of ways, perhaps most immediately by shaking up the contest to lead the Democratic Party’s moderate wing. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., have emerged as the leading primary candidates closer to the political center, and Mr. Biden remains the overall front-runner for the nomination. But both men have serious political vulnerabilities and neither has Mr. Bloomberg’s financial resources.

Much like Mr. Biden, Mr. Bloomberg is wagering that Democratic voters will care far more about defeating Mr. Trump than any other political or ideological consideration.

Mr. Bloomberg’s message, at the start, is leaning heavily into his biography as a business executive and as the mayor of New York City starting in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. His advisers acknowledge that he is far less known to voters than the leading Democratic candidates. His debut television commercial stressed his credentials as a self-made executive — “a middle-class kid who made good” — and his political advocacy on core Democratic concerns like gun control and climate change, as well as on economic development and public health issues like smoking. Those issues, his advisers say, will all be central to his candidacy.

While Mr. Bloomberg is a political moderate, his opening message also borrowed in some respects from the anti-Washington rhetoric of the Democratic Party’s populist wing, led by progressives like Mr. Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. “I know how to take on the powerful special interests that corrupt Washington,” Mr. Bloomberg said in his statement on Sunday. “And I know how to win.”

Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, who helms the Democratic Governors Association, said she had spoken recently with Mr. Bloomberg and saw him as a strong candidate despite the late hour. Ms. Raimondo said the former mayor recognized he faced “long odds” in the primary, but she suggested Mr. Bloomberg could be well positioned in a general election to take on Mr. Trump’s perceived credentials as a businessman.

“Trump’s a fraud. He’s a business failure. His economic policies have failed,” Ms. Raimondo said. “He’s bad for America, and I think Bloomberg can go toe-to-toe with him on that score, and he should.”

Mr. Bloomberg has seriously explored running for president several times before, including in 2016 as an independent and earlier this year as a Democrat, but has backed away every time. But it became clear over the last few weeks that 2020 was shaping up differently, as Mr. Bloomberg took steps toward forming a candidacy unlike any he had taken in the past, including putting his name on the ballot in several primary states.



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