Money & Power

Michael Bloomberg Confirms He Will Not Run for U.S. President as an Independent

But he hasn't completely ruled out a Democratic candidacy.
IMAGE GETTY IMAGES / THE WASHINGTON POST
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Over the past few weeks, Democrats started to form presidential exploratory committees en masse, and rumors circulated that former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg had plans to run for U.S. president.

Bloomberg, who is worth upwards of $47 billion, has hinted in the past that he might be open to running for higher office. But today, he put an end to the speculation that he might run for president in 2020 as an independent. (Bloomberg started his political career as a Republican, and was elected mayor of New York City on that party's ticket, but left the GOP in 2007. He was elected for a third term as mayor of NYC as an Independent candidate.)

He issued a statement on his website specifically criticizing independent runs for president in 2020.

"Last fall I spent over $100 million of my own money to elect Democrats to the House because I believed it was absolutely imperative to ensure a congressional counterweight to President Trump. Thankfully, we were successful. But that was just the first step — the next and most important step is to defeat Donald Trump in 2020," begins the post.

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He then confirms that he did consider running as an independent, but changed his mind when the looked at the data. "Given the strong pull of partisanship and the realities of the electoral college system, there is no way an independent can win," Bloomberg writes.

He also clarifies that a high profile independent run could make it more likely that Donald Trump would be reelected. "In 2020, the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the President. That's a risk I refused to run in 2016 and we can't afford to run it now. We must remain united, and we must not allow any candidate to divide or fracture us. The stakes couldn’t be higher." Read the full post here.

It should be noted that while Bloomberg appears to have ruled out running as an Independent, he hasn't completely shut down the idea of running as a Democrat. As he announced back in October, Bloomberg is currently a registered member of the Democratic party.

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Bloomberg's statement comes just one day after Howard Schultz, the former CEO and executive chairman of Starbucks and a self-described "life-long Democrat," announced that he was "seriously considering" self-funding a campaign as an independent presidential candidate in 2020.

"This moment is like no other. Our two parties are more divided than ever. Let’s discuss how we can come together to create opportunities for more people," Schultz said on Twitter.

"I love our country, and I am seriously considering running for president as a centrist independent."

Given the timing of Bloomberg's statement, it's hard to see it as anything but a response to Schultz's announcement.

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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Caroline Hallemann
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