Michael Bloomberg visits Arkansas to file for state's Democratic presidential primary

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Michael Bloomberg's track record includes starting Bloomberg LP and initiating some controversial policies while serving as Mayor of New York City.

Posted: Nov 12, 2019 8:10 PM
Updated: Nov 12, 2019 8:10 PM

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is in Arkansas to file for the state's Democratic presidential primary, in the latest sign he is seriously considering a late entry into the 2020 race.

Bloomberg was in Little Rock Tuesday to file, according to a person with knowledge of his plans.

After saying in March that he wouldn't run for president, Bloomberg is preparing a potential run for a 2020 bid, in part, because he does not believe anyone in the current field of Democrats will be able to defeat President Donald Trump.

Bloomberg spokesman Howard Wolfson told CNN last week that the former mayor planned to file for Arkansas' Democratic primary before the state's Tuesday deadline. The mayor opted to file in person, something that is not required.

Bloomberg told CNN on Tuesday morning that he planned to travel to Arkansas, but said, "You'll have to come to see what we do."

Asked about whether his filing is coming too late in the 2020 process, the mayor said, "I don't know that it's late."

Bloomberg's team filed the necessary paperwork to get on the Democratic primary ballot in Alabama last week, the clearest sign to date that the former mayor is seriously considering following through with something he has been weighing for weeks.

Both Alabama and Arkansas, despite not being early nominating states, have early filing deadlines.

Should Bloomberg run, the former New York Mayor is likely to largely skip the early nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina and instead focus on states that vote on March 3, also known as Super Tuesday.

"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," said Wolfson. "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. 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."

It's a strategy that has never been successful in Democratic politics and party officials in both Iowa and New Hampshire, two states who prize their first in the nation statuses, have publicly expressed disappointment with Bloomberg's decision.

The decision to skip Iowa may be a practical one for the mayor, though.

A CNN/Des Moines Register poll in March found that Bloomberg was one of the least popular candidates considering running for the Democratic nomination. The poll found 27% of Democratic likely caucusgoers viewed him favorably, compared with 38% who had an unfavorable view.

As he considers a bid, Bloomberg's political team has been in touch with officials at the Democratic National Committee about a possible presidential bid, a DNC aide told CNN. Bloomberg and the committee's chair, Tom Perez, spoke by phone Thursday evening about the former mayor's possible bid, the aide said.

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