2020 Presidential Profiles

Published — November 24, 2019

9 things to know about Michael Bloomberg

(Mike Bloomberg/Creative Commons)

As an ultra-late entrant, can the former New York City mayor convince Democratic voters to back a billionaire?

Introduction

After being discussed as a potential candidate in each of the 2008, 2012 and 2016 races, billionaire businessman, philanthropist and political activist Michael Bloomberg has finally declared his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election — after earlier this year saying he wouldn’t run.

Bloomberg’s late entry into the Democratic presidential party comes amid the ascendence of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a liberal U.S. senator from Massachusetts, and the perceived underperformance of the comparatively moderate Joe Biden, the former vice president. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, like Bloomberg, also waited until the 11th hour to declare his presidential ambitions.

Despite leaving office as New York City’s mayor in 2013, Bloomberg has unreservedly used his personal wealth, his super PAC and his connections to help advance political and social causes important to him. Whether it’s about gun violence, the environment, soda sizes or police and racial issues, Bloomberg has rarely hesitated to wade into the political fracas.

He also has a history of conflict with President Donald Trump, who in 2016 said Bloomberg didn’t have “the guts to run for president.”

Here’s more on Bloomberg’s political and financial history:

  • Much like his party registration, Bloomberg has played both sides of the aisle when making campaign contributions. He has donated millions of dollars to various political committees, including  the campaigns of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and the late former Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Bloomberg has also contributed to the campaigns of Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
  • Bloomberg recently donated $1.8 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, to finance student financial aid packages. This supplements the more than $1.5 billion he had previously donated to fund research, professorships and scholarships.

Sources: Center for Public Integrity reporting, the New York Times, Slate, Forbes.com, the New Yorker, Business Insider, The Atlantic, Instagram, CNN, Everytown.org, HuffPost, The Guardian, the Washington Post, the Miami Herald, CNBC.com, OpenSecrets.org.

Read more in Money and Democracy

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