Ex-New York mayor Michael Bloomberg decides against presidential run in 2020

Bloomberg (above) considered running for president as an independent in 2016.
Bloomberg (above) considered running for president as an independent in 2016.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he will not run for president in 2020, removing a prominent name from an already crowded field of candidates looking to challenge Donald Trump.

Bloomberg, 77, said he would put his resources into many of the initiatives he's already involved in, including helping the country transition to renewable energy.

"It's essential that we nominate a Democrat who will be in the strongest position to defeat Donald Trump and bring our country back together," Bloomberg said in an op-ed published by Bloomberg Opinion.

"We cannot allow the primary process to drag the party to an extreme that would diminish our chances in the general election and translate into 'Four More Years.'"

Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

The former three-term mayor had said he was seriously considering a bid for the Democratic nomination after opting not to run an independent in 2016. He had signalled the key factors in his decision were whether he could win and whether he could have more of an impact continuing with his philanthropic pursuits.

Bloomberg has argued the country needs a competent and pragmatic chief executive with his kind of business and government experience who can get big things done, drawing an explicit contrast with Trump.

 

He has long supported issues popular among many Democrats, including gun control and mitigating climate change, and he spent more than US$110 million (S$150 million) in the 2018 congressional elections to help elect Democrats, according to figures provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

But Bloomberg has questioned positions popular with the party's progressive wing such as Medicare-for-all and taxing the super-wealthy. He also faced questions about why a former Republican with a past career on Wall Street should be the standard bearer for a party that increasingly relies on a young, diverse base that is often sceptical of big business.

The former mayor had considered running for president as an independent in 2016. He ultimately decided a candidate outside the two major parties could not win and endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton. He has joined other Democrats in criticising former Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz for contemplating an independent bid in 2020, saying he would split the vote and likely help re-elect Trump.