Michael Bloomberg to Skip Iowa, New Hampshire, Focus on Super Tuesday States

FILE – In this Feb. 26, 2019, file photo, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a news conference at a gun control advocacy event in Las Vegas. Bloomberg has opened door to a potential presidential run, saying the Democratic field ‘not well positioned’ to defeat Trump. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Michael Bloomberg plans to skip early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire if he launches a presidential bid and instead focus his efforts on the crush of states that vote on Super Tuesday and beyond. It’s a strategy that acknowledges the limitations of his likely entry into the race at this late stage and the opportunities afforded by the billionaire’s vast personal wealth.

Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson says other candidates already have a big head start in the first four states to vote — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — and Bloomberg needs to be realistic about where he can make up ground.

“If we run, we are confident we can win in states voting on Super Tuesday and beyond, where we will start on an even footing,” Wolfson said. Fifteen states and American Samoa vote in the March 3 contests.

After previously ruling out a 2020 bid, Bloomberg is reconsidering a run for the Democratic nomination, citing concerns about the ability of the current crop of contenders to defeat President Donald Trump. He’s expected to announce a final decision in the coming days.

Bloomberg’s team has moved swiftly to carve out space for the former New York City mayor. Bloomberg himself has called prominent Democrats to alert them to his likely run, and his staff is scrambling to meet fast-approaching primary filing deadlines.

Among those Bloomberg has reached out to: Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor who remains popular in the state. Vilsack told The Associated Press that Bloomberg called him Thursday evening and left a voicemail indicating he plans to run.

“He is in,” Vilsack said of Bloomberg’s message.

Despite the outreach to Vilsack, advisers say Bloomberg would not make a serious play for votes in Iowa and the other early states. Other candidates in the crowded field have spent months courting voters there and building campaign operations.

The early states offer just a small percentage of the delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination. But victories there typically give candidates crucial momentum that helps carry them into bigger states with more delegates on the line.

Bloomberg is calculating that he could build an advantage in those states now with his ability to quickly pour money into staff, television advertising and other campaign operations while other candidates are competing elsewhere.

Bill Carrick, a veteran Democratic strategist based in Los Angeles, said he doesn’t think skipping the early voting states is ever a viable strategy.

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SOURCE: AP News – JULIE PACE and THOMAS BEAUMONT