Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened a regional Pennsylvania campaign office in Old City Philadelphia on Dec. 21 2019, and he returned on Tuesday, Feb. 4 for a campaign event at the National Constitution Center. The Mayor had been campaigning in California — a crucial Super Tuesday state — before making the event in Philadelphia.
Bloomberg confirmed his intentions to capture the 2020 Democratic nomination for president only 10 weeks ago on Nov. 24, but in that time, he has caught up to the rest of the field. At the time of writing, Forbes estimates that his net worth is $61.9 billion, and he has already spent 300 million of it on advertising. $10 million alone went towards a minute ad that aired during the Super Bowl. That figure is more than all of the other candidates combined, excluding Tom Steyer, another billionaire in the race who has spent over $157 million on his campaign.
Although he has been in the race since November, Bloomberg was not on the December or January debate stages. This is because the Democratic National Committee set both a donor and polling threshold for all of the debates so far. With Bloomberg self-funding his campaign, he does not meet the 225,000 unique donors requirement to qualify for these events. In response to his Democratic opponents saying he was avoiding scrutiny by not participating, Bloomberg has stated publicly that he would be happy to participate.
The DNC announced on Friday, Jan. 31 that they would be getting rid of the donor threshold for the Nevada debate on Feb. 19. This will enable Bloomberg to spar with other candidates on national television. His campaign failed to file for the Nevada caucuses, which means he is unlikely to capture delegates in that state, but he is on target to meet the polling requirement to be on stage in Las Vegas. To make the stage in Las Vegas, candidates will need to reach 10 percent support in four national polls or surveys in Nevada and South Carolina (which holds its primary a week after Nevada).
The Pennsylvania primary is not until April 28, but that has not stopped the Mayor from building vast support in the state. His PA regional office has set up events all across the state including Ardmore, Pittsburgh, Allentown and Bensalem. A recent poll conducted by Franklin & Marshall College has Bloomberg at seven percent in Pennsylvania, which is higher than Mayor Buttigieg and Senator Klobuchar. His national political co-chair is former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
Mayor Nutter co-hosted a fundraiser with Comcast executive David L. Cohen for Joe Biden’s campaign on April 25, 2019, the day he announced his entry into the race. Nutter had previously tried to convince Bloomberg to get into the race earlier, but after Bloomberg declined, Nutter endorsed the former Vice President. Now that Bloomberg is in the race, Nutter has given him his full support.
The doors of the National Constitution Center opened just before 6 p.m., and the event was set to start at 7 p.m.. Within that hour, the site became packed with supporters and interested potential voters.
Mayor Nutter took the stage, and he told the crowd about the long relationship he has maintained with the former New York City Mayor. On that, Nutter said emphatically that he has known Bloomberg for a long time, and the two have worked together to try solve multiple issues that were heavily impacting both their cities, like housing and education.
Bloomberg approached the podium wearing the colors of the City of Philadelphia flag, with a light blue shirt and yellow tie underneath his grey suit. He started with some humor, saying, “If I have the honor of being nominated, I will select my vice president. It was hard, but in the end, I decided there was only one choice… Gritty! In the vice presidential debate, Mike Pence would have no chance whatsoever.” He also touched on the topic of President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial and alluded that, although the acquittal was inevitable, he aims to beat him on Election Day in November.
Bloomberg mentioned his accomplishments as the three-term mayor of the country’s largest city. On gun violence, he made sure to raise the fact that he set up Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of people fighting for improved public safety measures.
Bloomberg continuously boasted that he was campaigning across multiple states in quick succession and stated that he has a broad coalition of support. His supporters believe that the fact that he was a former Republican and independent makes it easier for him to relate to voters, but if he becomes the Democratic nominee, he will have to defend endorsing George W. Bush in 2004 after also supporting the Iraq War. The Mayor’s speech ended at 8 p.m., and he went into the crowd to greet and shake the hands of those who came.