Michael Bloomberg Won’t Run For President

attends The Robin Hood Foundation's 2018 benefit at Jacob Javitz Center on May 14, 2018 in New York City.
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: Michael Bloomberg speaks on stage during The Robin Hood Foundation's 2018 benefit at Jacob Javitz Center on May 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood)

Wealthy former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg won’t run for president, he announced Tuesday afternoon.

“I know what it takes to run a winning campaign, and every day when I read the news, I grow more frustrated by the incompetence in the Oval Office. I know we can do better as a country. And I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election. But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field,” Bloomberg said in an op-ed on his website Tuesday.

Bloomberg, a billionaire centrist, had seriously considered a bid as a Democrat this election, and his wallet alone would have made him a force in a primary — albeit one with a tough path to the Democratic nomination given his pro-Wall Street stances and center-right views on policing. He’d spent more than $100 million helping Democrats in 2018, and was expected to spend more than that on his own race. But as in past years when he weighed a presidential run as an independent he decided he couldn’t win.

Bloomberg also had indicated he was less likely to run if former Vice President Joe Biden jumped in. Biden has sent clear signals that he’s likely to jump into the race, and Bloomberg’s decision both suggests that likelihood and raises the pressure on Biden to get in.

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Bloomberg has spent heavily on the causes closest to his heart, with gun control and environmental issues at the top of the list. He says in the op-ed that he’ll continue to do so. That includes launching a new organization, Beyond Carbon, that has the goal of shuttering every coal-fired power plant in the U.S. by 2030.

Bloomberg’s decision not to run leaves a major hole in the Democratic Primary for a centrist, one that Biden is likely to fill. If the former vice president doesn’t run either, that could open up a free-for-all for the more establishment lane, with opportunities lesser-known candidates like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D).

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