Former New York mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg has announced that he is running for president, a decision that make shake up the race for the Democratic nomination.
“I believe my unique set of experiences in business, government, and philanthropy will enable me to win and lead,” Bloomberg wrote on Twitter in his announcement video.
He’ll be a centrist in a race where candidates have been under pressure to prove their progressive bonafides. In his video, a narrator says that Bloomberg will make sure that “the wealthy will pay more in taxes, and the struggling middle class will get their fair share.”
The narrator also says that Bloomberg advocates a plan where “everyone without health insurance is guaranteed to get it, and everyone who like theirs can go ahead and keep it.” That puts him at odds with candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who favor a single-payer plan known as Medicare for All.
The narrator also says that Bloomberg sees “a different kind of menace coming from Washington,” but “there’s no stopping here, because there is an America waiting to be rebuilt.” Bloomberg railed against Trump at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, even though he was still registered as an independent.
Since then, Bloomberg, 77, has registered as a Democrat. He announced last spring that he would not run, but his reconsideration is an indication that he was not satisfied with the way that the Democratic primary has evolved.
A key question will be how Bloomberg’s media property covers the presidential field, and whether his role changes at Bloomberg LP. He stepped away from the company when he was mayor of New York, but rejoined it in 2014 as president and CEO.
Bloomberg is a late entrant into the presidential race, but not the only one. Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, launched his campaign earlier this month.
What is unclear is if Bloomberg will be able to participate in any of the presidential debates. The Democratic National Committee qualifications for the next debate, to be held on Dec. 19 in Los Angeles, call for candidates to meet a polling threshold of at least 4% in four polls (or 6% in two early state polls), and at least 200,000 unique donors.
Bloomberg will not accept political donations, relying instead on his vast personal fortune. his adviser Howard Wolfson said, according to CNBC. That move would put him out of the running for the next debate, although the DNC has yet to announce the criteria for future events.
Bloomberg’s campaign also reserved a reported $30 million in ad time for spots to run in early states.