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Dhaka Tribune

Bloomberg files papers paving way for US presidential bid

Bloomberg's name was posted among 17 candidates on the Alabama Democratic Party's website only hours before registration closed

Update : 09 Nov 2019, 10:59 PM

New York business tycoon Michael Bloomberg has paved the way for a shot at the US presidency, registering as a candidate in the Alabama Democratic primary race before Friday's filing deadline. 

Although the 77-year-old billionaire has not publicly announced his run, his inclusion among a crowded field kept his options open for mounting a concerted bid to topple a fellow New Yorker, President Donald Trump.

Analysts say a Bloomberg candidacy could do the most damage to the prospects of frontrunner Joe Biden, but the former vice president put on a brave face Friday and said he was not worried Bloomberg would draw away centrist voters.

Bloomberg's name was posted among 17 candidates on the Alabama Democratic Party's website only hours before registration closed. 

Alabama is not one of the early primaries but it has the earliest deadline to register.

Biden, who will also turn 77 on November 20, has placed himself in the political center with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren run to his left.

"Michael's a solid guy," Biden told reporters in Concord, New Hampshire, while registering to take part in the February primary in the north-eastern state.

"I have no, no problem with him getting in the race," Biden said. "And in terms of he's running because of me, last polls I looked at I'm pretty far ahead.

"If I'm not mistaken I'm doing pretty well, both relative to Trump and relative to all the people running," he said.

Jason Mollica of American University said the entry of Bloomberg in the race could be "an indication that he believes the Democrats do not have a strong candidate that can defeat President Trump."

"Mr Biden's campaign isn't the strength it was at the start and if Mr Bloomberg gains the support of the centrists in the Democratic Party, that is a big sign for Mr Biden the party doesn't feel he's the right candidate, either," Mollica said.

Kyle Kondik of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia said a Bloomberg run could conceivably draw support away from Biden but it remains to be seen how much backing he'll receive in a crowded field.

"At first blush, yes, one might think Bloomberg would hurt Biden more than others," Kondik said. "But we have to remember that sometimes voters don't fit neatly into ideological categories.

"While neither is running hard to the left and both are older white men, voters might perceive key differences between them," Kondik said. "Bloomberg has to actually show he can draw significant support in order to hurt Biden."

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