It looks like Michael Bloomberg is no longer just considering a run for president. On Tuesday, Bloomberg made the trip to Arkansas to file for the state primary, as he had previously done for Alabama. He got much criticism from the press about a potential run, but seems intent on following through and getting on the ballot. His staff is “recruiting potential campaign staff at a furious pace,” according to The New York Times.
And throughout it all, Rhode Island could play a surprisingly important role in the national campaign of a former New York mayor.
While Governor Gina Raimondo is not officially endorsing Bloomberg yet, she had kind words for the businessman last week when speaking with reporters.
“I think he has done a good job as mayor of New York and I admire his approach to solving problems,” Raimondo said, according to the Providence Journal. “His a serious candidate with an ability to fund a campaign of huge proportions if he decides to do that.”
Except, according to Raimondo, it seems like he has decided to run. The Governor said an advisor to Bloomberg called her last week to say that “Mike was in.”
Raimondo has a history with Bloomberg, dating back to 2010, when she called him her “political idol.” Later, Bloomberg endorsed her in the 2014 gubernatorial race and since 2012, Bloomberg has donated $7,500 to Raimondo, according to the Journal.
Bloomberg even visited Rhode Island in 2018, praising the state’s drug prevention program.
All this begs the question: How deep is Bloomberg’s relationship with Raimondo and could it lead to something more? I’ll put it plainly: Could Raimondo be Bloomberg’s Vice President?
Let’s acknowledge the obvious first: It is incredibly unlikely that Bloomberg will ever make it to the point of having to choose a VP. His electoral strategy, as it stands now, is to totally avoid the first four primaries and instead focus on Super Tuesday — something that no candidate has ever done successfully.
Attempts to shift the importance of early states in the past — I’m looking at you, Phill Gramm and Delaware — have failed spectacularly. Why would Bloomberg be successful in doing so?
There’s no signs that there’s actually an electoral appetite for a candidate like Bloomberg — or that he’ll be able to steal away votes from Joe Biden, who is the most similar candidate to him in the field. An early Fox News poll (take these with a grain of salt) from October found that Bloomberg would have six percent of the vote from primary voters.
Sure, he’ll pick up votes campaigning, but people will also think twice about who he is and his electoral chances. Let’s say he can pick up some votes through pure money power. For the purposes of this article, let’s put his most likely outcome as 10 percent.
Not enough to become president.
But, assume for some bizarre reason he does get the nomination. Bloomberg has little to no support from the establishment, and Raimondo seems to be one of, if not the only, high-ranking politician supporting Bloomberg. That much is valuable for Raimondo’s chances of getting the job.
It helps that Raimondo is a younger woman, both demographic assets that would help Bloomberg in an election. But, if he really wanted to cover all of his bases, he would choose a candidate from the midwest or south; instead of Raimondo, why not Amy Klobuchar?
In the end, this is a question that will almost certainly never matter, because Bloomberg will never get the nomination. If he does, he’ll have to face the choice: east coast establishment type, or middle America electoral win?
I think he’ll take the electoral win.
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