Michael Bloomberg on Friday filed to run in Alabama’s Democratic presidential primary in 2020.
Representatives of Bloomberg submitted paperwork with the Alabama Democratic Party in Montgomery to put his name on the ballot for the Super Tuesday contest on March 3. A party spokesman said they are reviewing the paperwork.
The reason Bloomberg is filing in Alabama is strictly because of the state’s early filing deadline. The state’s filing deadline is Friday.
Bloomberg also plans to file in Arkansas’ Democratic primary before the state’s Tuesday deadline, Bloomberg spokesman Howard Wolfson told CNN Friday evening.
Candidates for president hoping to be on the ballot in Arkansas must file before Tuesday, November 12, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State. Wolfson said that Bloomberg plans to make that deadline as part of his possible 2020 run.
Wolfson also told CNN in a statement that the former New York City mayor plans to skip the first four primary contests.
“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 in a statement that was first reported by The Washington Post.
“But the late timing of our entry means that many candidates already have a big head start in the four early states, where they’ve spent months and months campaigning and spending money. We have enormous respect for the Democratic primary process and many friends in those states, but our plan is to run a broad-based, national campaign.”
The move is the clearest sign to date that the former mayor is seriously considering following through with something he has been weighing for weeks.
If he runs, Bloomberg would be embarking on a strategy that has never been successful: bypassing the first four states on the Democratic calendar. Party officials in Iowa and New Hampshire expressed disappointment over the decision, which was particularly curious given the influential role of independent voters in New Hampshire.
Despite filing the paperwork in Alabama, Bloomberg has yet to make a final decision on a run, a Bloomberg spokesman told CNN on Thursday.
Bloomberg’s possible entrance comes as former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign struggles to break out of the Democratic field and as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a liberal lawmaker who has railed against billionaires like Bloomberg, rises in the Democratic primary campaign. A possible Bloomberg bid would be sure to dramatically shake up the Democratic primary process.
Bloomberg has privately expressed concerns about the strength of the 2020 field, according to a person familiar with his thinking. And a Democratic strategist who has previously worked with Bloomberg said the former mayor is reconsidering his options, in part, because of the outcome in this week’s elections in Virginia, where investments from his gun control group helped Democrats win control of the General Assembly.
A CNN/Des Moines Register poll in March found that Bloomberg was one of the least popular candidates considering running for the Democratic nomination. The poll found 27% of Democratic likely caucusgoers viewed him favorably, compared with 38% who had an unfavorable view.
Bloomberg publicly entertained a 2020 bid earlier this year, traveling the country to meet with voters and determine whether a run was possible. He told reporters during this public speculation that he was seriously considering a bid, to the point that he had decided he would self-fund a campaign.
But Bloomberg decided in March that he would not run for president, even though he had been leaning toward it for months.
Bloomberg, however, has begun to rethink that decision, in part, because he does not believe any of the current candidates are positioned to defeat Trump.