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US billionaire Bloomberg considers Trump poll challenge

BBC


Billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg is again considering entering the race for the US Democratic party’s presidential nomination.

The ex-New York City mayor is concerned the current field of candidates is not good enough to beat Donald Trump in the 2020 election, an adviser says.

The 77-year-old is expected to file paperwork on Friday for the Democratic presidential primary in Alabama.

However, he has not yet made a decision on whether to run, advisers add.

If Bloomberg does get on the ballot in Alabama, he will still have to register in other states which have later filing deadlines.

State-by-state votes, known as primaries and caucuses, will be held from February next year to pick a Democratic White House nominee.

The eventual winner will be crowned at the party convention in Wisconsin in July. He or she is expected to face President Trump, a Republican, in the general election in November.

A total of 17 Democratic candidates are vying to be the party’s standard-bearer.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are the front-runners.

At a campaign fundraiser in Boston on Thursday, Biden did not address Bloomberg’s potential candidacy.

Ms Warren welcomed Bloomberg to the race on Twitter, linking to her own campaign website and suggesting the former mayor take a look for potential policy plans.

In a more pointed response, seemingly directed at Bloomberg, Sanders wrote on Twitter: “The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared.”

Some recent opinion polls have suggested that Warren and Sanders – who are more politically liberal than Mr Biden – might face an uphill battle against Trump.

What did Bloomberg’s adviser say?

In a statement, Howard Wolfson said: “We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated.

“But Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that.

“Based on his record of accomplishment, leadership and his ability to bring people together to drive change, Mike would be able to take the fight to Trump and win,” Wolfson said.

But his advisers also acknowledge that Bloomberg’s belated entry to the race could present challenges in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, where other Democratic contenders have been campaigning for months.

The Bloomberg team are reportedly planning to focus on the so-called Super Tuesday contests in March, when 14 states, including California, Alabama and Colorado, will vote on a single day for their preferred White House nominee.

If he enters the race, Bloomberg will face intense scrutiny of his three-term mayoral record in New York.

While in office, he defended the New York Police Department’s use of the controversial stop-and-frisk policy, similar to stop-and-search in the UK, which critics say disproportionately targets African Americans and Hispanics. Black voters are a vital constituency for Democrats.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, President Trump said Bloomberg “will fail” if he joins the Democratic race.

Candidates who want to get on the Democratic primary ballot in Alabama must submit the necessary paperwork by Friday.

New Hampshire’s filing deadline is next week, on 15 November.