Michael Bloomberg ends 2020 presidential campaign and endorses Joe Biden

Michael Bloomberg ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday and endorsed Joe Biden.

Posted: Mar 4, 2020 11:57 AM
Updated: Mar 4, 2020 12:39 PM

(CNN) -- Michael Bloomberg ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday and endorsed Joe Biden, closing out a costly run that saw the former New York mayor spend hundreds of millions of his own money to fund his late entry bid.

Bloomberg exits the race the day after a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday that left him with only a single victory: American Samoa.

"I've always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday's vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden," he wrote in a press release.

One thing set Bloomberg apart from the rest of the Democratic field: Money. The billionaire spent millions on television and digital ads to propel his campaign and quickly built a staff of more than 2,400 people by offering top dollar to a range of political operatives. The full extent of Bloomberg's spending likely won't be fully known for weeks.

Bloomberg's campaign, based on its level of spending and support, was banking on strong showings in Oklahoma, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and parts of Texas, according to aides. But it was clear by the end of the night on Tuesday that the support they believed they had did not materialize.

Bloomberg's decision to get out now is a boon for former Vice President Joe Biden, who was appealing to a similar range of moderate voters.

It comes shortly after Biden received the endorsements of former South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, both of whom ended their campaigns and quickly backed Biden, in attempts to start coalescing moderates behind one candidate. The coalescing was a significant blow to Bloomberg because it undermined a central argument to his campaign -- that there is no strong moderate candidate that the party can coalesce around to take on Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The former New York mayor's decision to get out now is also an acknowledgement that his focus on Super Tuesday, as opposed to any of the early states, failed to work. Even with hundreds of millions spent to propel his campaign, Bloomberg was not able to overcome the operation and organization of Biden and Sanders.

Bloomberg entered the 2020 race in November, far later than any of his competitors, and set about offering Democrats a more moderate option to counter the rise of Sanders. Bloomberg, by using the slogan "Mike Will Get It Done," ran on his business record, arguing that the best person to take on President Donald Trump is a wealthier New York business leader.

Some top Democrats, many of whom were publicly worried about Biden's unsteady footing and Sanders' surge, endorsed Bloomberg's candidacy, believing the former Republican could be the best hope at defeating Trump. But intertwined with those endorsements was the hundreds of millions of dollars Bloomberg spent helping to elect Democrats in 2018 and earlier, including in some districts where local Democrats eventually backed the former mayor.

Bloomberg's campaign operated in its own universe for the first couple months. By not running in the first four nominating states, Bloomberg was largely divorced from the other Democratic campaigns for months. And though he tried to solely focus his campaign on Trump -- setting up, in the eyes of voters, a general election matchup between the two -- he was not actually actively running against the Republican President.

Even still, Bloomberg trained most of his rhetorical fire on Trump, hoping to draw the president into a fight that elevated his campaign.

"We know many of the same people in NY," Bloomberg wrote on Twitter. "Behind your back they laugh at you & call you a carnival barking clown. They know you inherited a fortune & squandered it with stupid deals and incompetence. I have the record & the resources to defeat you. And I will.

The attention from Bloomberg achieved its ultimate goal: getting under the President's skin.

Trump, throughout Bloomberg's campaign, tweeted attacks aimed at the former New York mayor and used his weekly campaign rallies to rail against him.

But even a frequent back-and-forth with the President wasn't enough to save Bloomberg's bid in the end.

The seminal moment of Bloomberg's downfall was the first Democratic debate he qualified for, in Las Vegas.

Bloomberg struggled on the debate stage, at times looking lost during the free-wheeling discussion. Compounding the problem was that he the former New York mayor, as the new candidate on the stage, took on a significant share of the attacks and was unable to defend himself.

The most powerful of those attacks came from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who lambasted Bloomberg for lewd comments he allegedly made about women at his company in the 1980s and 1990s.

The debate also highlighted issues with Bloomberg's history, including overseeing the controversial "stop and frisk" policing strategy in New York, which many civil rights activists have labeled racist. He was also called out for his defense of "redlining," the biased housing practice that stopped banks from providing mortgages in low-income, largely minority neighborhoods. He said the ending of the practice was to blame for the 2008 collapse.

Bloomberg apologized for the policing tactic repeatedly and argued that the audio of him defending redlining was not an accurate reflection of his views, but the two issues hung over the former New York mayor's candidacy, especially with Democratic activists.

"I'd like to talk about who we're running against. A billionaire who calls women 'fat broads' and 'horse-faced lesbians.' And, no, I'm not talking about Donald Trump. I'm talking about Mayor Bloomberg," Warren said, referring to quotes attributed to Bloomberg despite it not being clear he made those comments.

Campaign aides, at the time, looked to spin the performance as the mayor just warming up indeed, Bloomberg's second debate was an improvement -- but the poor performance in Las Vegas removed some of the bravado the former New York mayor portrayed in his ads and raised questions in the minds of voters about how the person they saw on the debate stage would fare against Trump.

And the greatest irony from Bloomberg's campaign is that his run, while aimed at thwarting Sanders, likely helped the senator's run his run. This primarily played out on the debate stage in Las Vegas, where Bloomberg took a great deal of the attacks, despite Sanders being the front-runner.

Even more impactful, though, was how Bloomberg further fractured the anti-Sanders electorate, giving voters who did not want to support the Vermont senator another option.

Bloomberg's decision to exit the race could reverse that reality, handing Biden a needed win to thwart the self-proclaimed democratic socialist.

Bloomberg, a 77-year-old entrepreneur and philanthropist, made his fortune creating technology that bankers and traders use to access market data. After building a successful financial information business, he turned to politics.

He officially launched a bid to become mayor of New York in 2001. Despite running as a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic city, Bloomberg won the election and was reelected twice. During this second term, he switched parties and became an independent -- only to re-register as a Democrat in 2018.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 663511

Reported Deaths: 12633
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion908511647
Lake48510882
Allen35951638
Hamilton32138398
St. Joseph30096513
Elkhart25423417
Vanderburgh21283379
Tippecanoe20096203
Johnson16380360
Porter16009272
Hendricks15855300
Clark11999181
Madison11764319
Vigo11636230
Monroe10363163
Delaware9854179
LaPorte9790197
Howard9075198
Kosciusko8574111
Bartholomew7479147
Warrick7430151
Hancock7418132
Floyd7226170
Wayne6645192
Grant6437157
Boone610389
Morgan6103125
Dubois5923111
Dearborn549068
Cass545899
Marshall5432105
Henry542593
Noble510178
Jackson465167
Shelby461490
Lawrence4189113
Gibson401781
Harrison401064
Clinton396553
Montgomery388483
DeKalb386478
Miami357663
Knox357585
Whitley349837
Huntington346277
Steuben339255
Wabash332376
Putnam331159
Ripley327762
Adams323949
Jasper317043
White297452
Jefferson295474
Daviess285596
Fayette271956
Decatur271088
Greene261680
Posey261431
Wells258575
Scott251250
Clay241544
LaGrange241270
Randolph225576
Spencer218030
Jennings215744
Washington212127
Sullivan203639
Fountain201842
Starke188451
Owen182853
Fulton179337
Jay178328
Carroll176519
Perry173435
Orange171150
Rush165322
Vermillion160842
Franklin159535
Tipton146841
Parke139416
Pike127833
Blackford120727
Pulaski106744
Newton96632
Brown95139
Benton92213
Crawford91013
Martin80214
Warren75814
Switzerland7558
Union67310
Ohio53911
Unassigned0433

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 972605

Reported Deaths: 16750
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1123671214
Cuyahoga961861832
Hamilton735721034
Montgomery47359903
Summit40384802
Butler35577505
Lucas35489685
Stark29456803
Warren22464271
Lorain22068414
Mahoning19509537
Lake18445318
Clermont18425201
Delaware16499116
Licking15022189
Fairfield14563180
Trumbull14369413
Greene13595218
Medina13423226
Clark12288248
Wood11575163
Portage11050164
Allen10793216
Richland10316183
Miami10035189
Muskingum8195112
Columbiana8151200
Pickaway8067107
Tuscarawas8054227
Marion7996125
Wayne7886193
Erie6914140
Ross6152128
Geauga6083136
Hancock6006116
Ashtabula5978152
Scioto596280
Lawrence527118
Union513537
Darke5036114
Belmont496659
Huron4825107
Jefferson4806107
Sandusky4780108
Seneca4702107
Washington465791
Athens465047
Mercer458780
Auglaize456180
Shelby441679
Knox4037101
Putnam399390
Madison393553
Fulton380658
Ashland380581
Defiance372583
Brown369844
Crawford358396
Logan355772
Preble353678
Clinton340852
Highland328349
Ottawa324369
Williams302662
Jackson290545
Champaign288149
Guernsey287844
Perry269847
Fayette269141
Morrow260334
Henry246658
Hardin245858
Holmes243293
Coshocton237454
Van Wert229854
Gallia222631
Adams217036
Pike215626
Wyandot210447
Hocking194554
Carroll181341
Paulding160530
Meigs135730
Noble129233
Monroe117027
Morgan101119
Harrison100624
Vinton76613
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 30°
Angola
Mostly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 25°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 28°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 30°
Lima
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 22°
Sunny, Cooler Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events