WASHINGTON— Michael Bloomberg plans to focus his likely presidential campaign on Super Tuesday states, skipping early voting states where other candidates have spent months meeting voters and building operations.
Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson says other candidates already have a big head start in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Wolfson says Bloomberg is "realistic" about where he can make up ground at this late stage.
That means Bloomberg would focus on the crush of states that vote on March 3, hoping to quickly amass delegates in California, Virginia and elsewhere. The billionaire's vast personal wealth means he can start advertising and building a campaign apparatus in those states while other candidates are focused on the early primary contests.
Bloomberg is expected to make a final decision on the 2020 campaign in the coming days. He is taking new steps toward running for president in 2020. A staffer for the billionaire former New York mayor is in Alabama on Friday filling out paperwork that would allow Bloomberg to appear on the ballot in the state's March 3 Democratic primary.
Bloomberg has long flirted with launching a presidential campaign but has never gone so far as to register to appear on the ballot.
Bloomberg is making the move as he warns that the current field of Democratic presidential candidates isn't equipped to defeat President Donald Trump next year.
The 77-year-old has spent the past few weeks talking with prominent Democrats about the state of the Democratic campaign, expressing concerns about Joe Biden and the rise of liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren.
Trump says there's "nobody" he'd "rather run against" than Bloomberg.
Michael Bloomberg has reached out to a senior Iowa Democrat in a sign that the billionaire former New York City mayor is planning a presidential campaign.
Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack told The Associated Press that Bloomberg telephoned him Thursday evening as reports were emerging that he was weighing a campaign. Bloomberg left a voicemail indicating he plans to run.
Of Bloomberg's message, Vilsack said: "He is in."
In a follow-up email, Vilsack told the AP that Bloomberg said in the message that "it was true he is running."
Bloomberg aides say he has made calls to prominent Democrats but has not made a final decision to run for president.
Vilsack was the U.S. secretary of agriculture under President Barack Obama. Vilsack has been consulted by several of the more than one dozen Democrats campaigning in his state, which holds the leadoff caucuses in fewer than 90 days.