Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg ended his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday after spending $500 million and failing to win anywhere outside American Samoa on Super Tuesday.
While other Democratic presidential candidates crisscrossed the country looking for last-minute votes on Super Tuesday, Bloomberg tried a different tactic, campaigning in the Sunshine State which does not hold its primary until March 17.
“Because I’ve been spending the last 10 weeks that I’ve been campaigning, my competitors have been there for four years, five years, 20 years,” Bloomberg said on the campaign trail in Florida on Tuesday. “I can’t figure how you count it, but for an awful long time. I’ve visited 27 states, I think it is, 27 cities.”
Knowing he was in trouble on Super Tuesday, for a moment, Bloomberg seemed to want to follow the game plans that two other New York City mayors—John Lindsay in 1972 and Rudy Giuliani in 2012–by putting all his chips on Florida.
“I think that we have a real good chance to win this state,” Bloomberg said. “This is a state that Obama won three times.” Bloomberg was referring to the 2008 and 2012 general elections and the 2008 primary.
During his speech at his Orlando campaign headquarters on Tuesday. Bloomberg did not spend a lot of time speaking about how he planned to win. He did, however, take a moment to criticize the current president and use a familiar joke.
“I’ve known Donald Trump. He’s a New Yorker, although I bill myself as the ‘unTrump’. We both come from New York and somebody once said could you have two New York billionaires running and I said ‘Who is the other one’?” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg called Orlando “a wonderful city” but was concerned about visiting the Pulse Memorial, saying he was saddened that 40,000 people died at the hands of a firearm last year either by accident, suicide, or violence. He compared those statistics to recent news reports about the coronavirus.
“Compared to this, I’m not suggesting we don’t have to worry about the virus, but we’ve got a virus (guns) that’s been taking over this country and we’ve got to do something about it,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg picked up the support Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer who told Florida Daily he only made up his mind on Tuesday morning, 24 hours before the former New York City mayor bowed out of the race.
“I wanted to show my support today,” Dyer said. “I considered waiting until after the Super Tuesday votes came in, but decided it had more of an impact to say I am going to step out and say this is the guy you need to vote for. The other thing about Florida, people are already early voting, so if anybody is relying or cares what I think, they might cast their vote now instead of two weeks from Tuesday.”
Dyer, still popular after winning a fifth term last year, said he did not consider throwing his support behind a more liberal candidate though he did consider backing former Vice President Joe Biden.
“I was on the fence between Biden and Bloomberg, and I just think that we need a mayor who knows how to manage the U.S.,” Dyer said. “ think it is not much different, quite honestly, than the job I have. He did a great job in New York. He’s been extremely supportive of mayors and cities. They’ll be nobody that pays more attention to the cities in our country than Mayor Bloomberg.”
Bloomberg also had stops in Miami, and West Palm Beach on Tuesday, getting ready for the Florida primary.
But, after Biden bounced back and won most of the Super Tuesday contests, Bloomberg bowed out of the race.
“Three months ago, I entered the race for president to defeat Donald Trump,” Bloomberg said on Wednesday “Today, I am leaving the race for the same reason: to defeat Donald Trump – because it is clear to me that staying in would make achieving that goal more difficult.”
Bloomberg insisted he was being realistic since “the delegate math has become virtually impossible – and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists.”
The former candidate quickly threw his support behind Biden who is now the favorite to win the Democratic nomination.
“I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it,” Bloomberg said. “After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.”
Reach Mike Synan at firstname.lastname@example.org.