Michael Bloomberg, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to self-fund his 2020 presidential run, announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign after a poor performance on Super Tuesday, according to a source familiar.
The state of play
Bloomberg opted to skip campaigning in early states, staking his candidacy on a string of Super Tuesday victories to launch him to frontrunner status, but that plan was ultimately felled by the resurgence of Joe Biden’s campaign.
Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both exited the race between the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday and chose to back Biden — along with Beto O’Rourke.
On Super Tuesday, Biden scored surprise victories in states like Texas, Massachusetts and Minnesota — and racked up huge wins across the South.
While Bloomberg was viable in multiple states, he didn’t win any — and his only victory was in the territory of American Samoa.
The big picture
Bloomberg’s self-funding drew backlash from an increasingly progressive party that is sceptical the role of big money in politics. Bloomberg was one of two billionaires in the race, joined by Tom Steyer, who dropped out over the weekend.
Bloomberg’s record as mayor of New York City drew controversy, particularly his support of stop-and-frisk. He apologized for the policy in November, acknowledging that it unfairly targeted people of colour.
He faced criticism for his use of non-disclosure agreements after being accused of harassment and gender discrimination by former female employees of Bloomberg LP.
He also faced an ethical conflict related to his ownership of Bloomberg News. The eponymous founder refused to allow his company’s journalism arm to investigate him as a candidate, forcing it to extend that policy to all 2020 Democrats.
Bloomberg moved to directly take on President Trump from the start of his run. Both campaigns took out 60-second ad slots during the Super Bowl, and Bloomberg became a repeated target of Trump’s tweets.
Trump gave Bloomberg a signature nickname — “Mini Mike” — and said he “is going nowhere, just wasting his money.”
Bloomberg has pledged to pay his massive staff to continue to work through November to support whoever becomes the eventual Democratic nominee.