Bloomberg files FEC paperwork for presidential bid, but no official run yet

Bloomberg files FEC paperwork for presidential bid, but no official run yet

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Billionaire Mike Bloomberg filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday for his potential presidential run, but his aides say he still hasn't made a final decision about joining the Democratic primary race.

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In detail: Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-Democrat and former mayor of New York City, filed an official statement of candidacy that allows him to legally raise and spend funds on a presidential campaign. It was also a necessary step to comply with election law given that he's already filed papers to appear on several state ballots, including in Alabama and Texas. The first filing gave him 15 days to initiate his run with the FEC.

Read the statement here.

But the move does not amount to a declaration. According to FEC rules, an individual "becomes a candidate when he or she raises or spends more than $5,000 in contributions or expenditures." His aide confirmed that the papers, though indicating a possible bid, do not represent a formal announcement.

"This is not an announcement and not an indication of a decision,” the aide said.

"If Mike runs, he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America's biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America's toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist," his adviser, Howard Wolfson, told NBC News earlier this month.

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Why run now? Although Bloomberg initially said he isn't vying for the White House, his team said he now believes that Joe Biden, who held the frontrunner status for a long time, can be knocked out. The former vice president's troubles began with his son's ties to Ukraine and he is now trailing behind other candidates in some polls and leading in others.

A late entry with a plan: If he does run, given the timing of his entry in the race, Bloomberg wouldn't have much time to establish a strong fan base and is unlikely garner enough voters to keep him afloat compared to his Democratic rivals who have been campaigning for almost a year. Thus, according to his team, Bloomberg will skip the first four primary states and will instead prepare for Super Tuesday states, when the largest number of states and territories hold presidential primaries.

“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,”

Likely hurdles: Bloomberg's financial status and his ties to Wall Street are among the issues he'd get hit on if he joins the race at a time when Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is building a prominent campaign on a promise to take down Big Tech and tax the rich. More traditional Democrats might take issue with his former political orientation as well.

But, it seems that Bloomberg is bracing for the heavy scrutiny. This month, he apologized for his support of the so-called “stop-and-frisk” police practice, as we reported at LaCorte News, and for past sexist jokes.

One thing is certain — Bloomberg doesn't want President Trump to win in 2020. He recently committed to spending $100 million on an online campaign against the president. The campaign will run even if he doesn't enter the race.

"Mike believes that Trump is an existential threat to the country. He's not waiting to take on the President, he's starting now. This is all hands on deck," his spokesman Jason Schechter explained.

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