2020 watch

Bloomberg throws a wrench into 2020 race

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Michael Bloomberg’s renewed effort to pursue a bid for the presidency has thrown the 2020 Democratic primary into disarray just three months before the Iowa caucuses. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Bloomberg is banking on success in states that will be voting on Super Tuesday in March, rather than targeting early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire, which go to the polls in February. 

Trial🎈: A poll released Sunday shows Bloomberg with only 4% support among Democratic primary voters, and sources close to the former New York City mayor told Axios the announcement was “partly a trial balloon to gauge interest.”

Democratic campaign strategist Hank Sheinkopf tells Jewish insider that Bloomberg’s argument could be convincing. His candidacy brings to the Democratic race a combination of electability and a record on cross-generational issues that voters care about, something Biden is lacking, he said. According to Sheinkopf, Bloomberg’s wealth and his strategy to skip the early primary states could make him “the 77-year-old change candidate who can afford to run the race any way he chooses and doesn’t have to participate in the debates.” 

Money counts: Top Bloomberg aide Howard Wolfson told The Atlantic, “Mike has a history of spending what it takes to win. It doesn’t hurt us — it helps us… Having the resources to do the job is important.” 

Billionaire support: Hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman, who recently admonished Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) over her tax and Medicare proposals, welcomed Bloomberg’s possible entry and offered his support. Recode’s Jason Del Rey reported on Saturday that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos called Bloomberg months ago and asked if he would run. 

Us vs. them: Supporters of Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) quickly pointed to Bloomberg’s wealth and the support he’s getting to further rally the left wing of the party.

Dogwhistle claims: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a Sanders supporter, is drawing fresh criticism over comments she made on Twitter,  sharing a link to Cooperman’s support, adding, “I wonder why” with a thinking face emoji. On Sunday, Omar retweeted several of her supporters who defended her by noting that the Minnesota lawmaker is supporting a Jewish candidate for the Democratic nomination.

View from Bidenland: Andrew Weinstein, a major Democratic donor and a member of Biden’s national finance committee, tells JI: “While I have enormous respect and appreciation for the life-changing work Mayor Bloomberg is doing to enact common sense gun-safety reforms, I do not see either the need or the lane for him to enter this crowded primary.”

Weinstein added that Bloomberg’s candidacy is “unlikely to change” Biden’s frontrunner status. 

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