In Brief

Michael Bloomberg joins the race for the White House

Billionaire former New York mayor faces uphill struggle to connect with voters

The billionaire former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, has officially announced that he is standing to be the Democratic Party presidential nominee.

“I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America,” Bloomberg announced on his campaign website.

“We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions.”

It is believed that he will take a moderate, centrist position. Launching his bid, he described himself as “a doer and a problem solver - not a talker”.

CNN says Bloomberg’s late bid “injects a new level of uncertainty into the race less than three months before the first voting in the race begins”. Meanwhile, USA Today notes that Bloomberg was a Republican in 2001 ahead of his first mayoral bid.

America’s eighth wealthiest man, Bloomberg has a net worth of $53.4bn. He made his fortune creating the technology that bankers and traders use to access market data, before turning to politics and serving three terms as mayor of New York City.

He is expected to spend up to $34m per a week on adverts in more than two dozen states. The Times says this will be the highest one-week expenditure in US political history, surpassing the $30m that Barack Obama spent while seeking re-election in 2012.

Bloomberg’s bid has already been dismissed by rivals, with Elizabeth Warren saying that “elections should not be for sale”. He also faces an uphill task to connect with Democrat voters, with a Quinnipiac poll in New Hampshire showing that only two per cent of primary voters back him to become the party’s presidental candidate.

Bloomberg has missed the first five TV debates and will likely not make it on stage for the sixth next month due to polling and donation requirements.

No Democrat has won the nomination after such a late start in modern times, though Ronald Reagan, a Republican, became president in 1981 after joining the race in mid-November.

Bloomberg’s first television campaign ads tell viewers: “He could have just been the middle class kid...but Mike Bloomberg became the guy who did good.”

The ad then turns attention to Trump, saying the mayor is “taking on him”, as an image of Trump freezes on screen.

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