The March 5 announcement ended mounting speculation that Bloomberg would seek the Democratic nomination for 2020. Bloomberg spent millions of dollars last year to support Democrats in retaking control of the U.S. House of Representatives in congressional elections.
The 77-year-old made his announcement in an opinion piece on Bloomberg News—one of the companies he runs—with the title “Our Highest Office, My Deepest Obligation.”
Bloomberg, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, admitted that there would be challenges running against such a crowded field of Democrat presidential contenders, now reaching a dozen. Many of the contenders are current U.S. senators.
“I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election,” Bloomberg wrote. “But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field.”
Although Bloomberg is a Democrat now, he was a former Republican and independent, and would have likely run as a more moderate candidate compared to other Democrats, who have embraced a more progressive platform.
“Many people have urged me to run. Some have told me that to win the Democratic nomination, I would need to change my views to match the polls,” Bloomberg wrote. “But I’ve been hearing that my whole political career.
“I’ve run for office three times and won each time, in no small part because I’ve never stuck my finger in the wind to decide what I should believe.
“It’s not who I am, nor do I think it’s what voters want in a leader.”
Another more moderate candidate potentially seeking a 2020 run is former Vice President Joe Biden, who recently revealed that his family wants him to run and that he is close to making a decision.
Meanwhile, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced March 4 that he is entering the 2020 race. Hickenlooper joins a crowd of contenders who enjoy more name recognition, such as self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Several other prominent Democratic candidates are backing Sanders’s socialist policies such as the “Green New Deal” and “Medicare for All.”
Other candidates who have not yet jumped in the race, but are reportedly considering a run, include former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
Rather than running, Bloomberg said he would use his massive personal fortune—estimated at more than $50 billion—to launch a new climate change push, Beyond Carbon, with the goal of moving the nation away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy sources.
Bloomberg already backs another effort, Beyond Coal, which is dedicated to shutting down coal-fired power plants.
“I know there’s much more we can accomplish over the next two years but only if we stay focused on the work and expand upon it,” he wrote. “And the fact is: A national presidential campaign would limit my ability to do that.”
Reuters contributed to this report