Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s incredibly expensive and incredibly fruitless presidential primary campaign has come to an end.
After investing more than half a billion dollars in his bid for the Democratic nod and winning exactly one primary — American Samoa — Bloomberg called it quits Wednesday morning and threw his support behind former Vice President Joe Biden.
“I’m a believer in using data to inform decisions. After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible – and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “But I remain clear-eyed about my overriding objective: victory in November. Not for me, but for our country.”
“And so while I will not be the nominee, I will not walk away from the most important political fight of my life,” he continued. “I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American Joe Biden.”
It’s unclear what exactly Bloomberg’s post-campaign plans are, but he indicated strongly in his statement that he plans to deploy his organization, money and data analytics to help beat Trump — and to help elect Biden. Bloomberg’s campaign was one unlike any before, largely because no candidate could afford the spend at the clip of a man worth some $60 billion. And while he is unlikely to keep those 2,400 people on his payroll and keep his 200 field offices open, he made clear he will help.
That could be a boon for Biden, whose weakness up until now has been lackluster fundraising and a shoestring campaign, relative to the national behemoth Bloomberg put together, and relative to the grassroots funded and organized campaign that Sen. Bernie Sanders has behind him.
Bloomberg’s campaign was one unlike any before, largely because no candidate could afford the spend at the clip of a man worth some $60 billion.
The question in the interim is how much Bloomberg is willing to spend to boost Biden over Sanders, who took a beating on Super Tuesday, but is by no means out of the race, trailing Biden by just less than 100 delegates.
The 18 delegates Bloomberg won on Super Tuesday are unlikely to make much of a difference at the convention, even if they all end up backing Biden in the complicated dance of delegate reallocation from zombie campaigns. If Biden and Sanders are within 18 delegates of each other at the Democratic convention in July, the party will have more pressing problems to sort out.
Bloomberg entered the race to great fanfare, but the hype and spending were overshadowed when Biden won handily in South Carolina, consolidated the Democratic establishment behind him, and waged a Super Tuesday comeback unlike any in recent political memory.
During the two debates he participated in, Bloomberg made clear his disdain for the sweeping policies Sanders advocates, and for Sanders’ vilification of the billionaire class. So it would stand to figure that his next move would be to try to black Sanders from prevailing.
Still, while Bloomberg’s money could certainly help Biden, his backing could hurt, too. For many on the left, Bloomberg has been a toxic figure in the campaign. African American leaders told VICE News he had done little to make up for the havoc his stop-and-frisk policy wreaked on the black community in New York City. Progressives, especially Sen. Elizabeth Warren, pilloried the former mayor for his past sexist statements and for trying to buy his way into the presidency.
Cover: Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks at his Super Tuesday night rally at the Palm Beach Convention Center on March 03, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Credit: mpi04/MediaPunch /IPX