At a press conference last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg into the Democratic presidential primary, saying that, “As far as Michael Bloomberg is concerned, I think that his involvement in this campaign will be a positive one.”
As the highest-ranking Democrat in Congress, Pelosi has steered clear of taking sides in the primary contest. But when pressed about the nearly $300 million that Bloomberg has spent in the race, Pelosi didn’t hesitate to praise the former mayor.
Bloomberg’s role in the 2018 campaign was, indeed, a positive one for Democrats — and for Pelosi herself. A New York Times analysis found that Bloomberg spent more than $41 million boosting Democrats in 24 House races last cycle; Democrats won 21 of those races.
In the midterm elections, Democrats flipped the GOP-controlled House for the first time in eight years, and Pelosi soon reclaimed her Speaker’s gavel.
“She partly owes her gavel to Mayor Bloomberg and his spending last cycle,” said a senior House Democratic source.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg continues to build momentum, and call upon some of the equity he has built up with his fortune with Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Establishment Democrats in Congress are buzzing about the former New York City mayor and wealthy business titan, whose late entry into the White House race and pledge to spend as much as $1 billion of his personal fortune to defeat Donald Trump has thrown a wild card into the party’s crowded primary.
Last week the former mayor — who has yet to have appeared on the debate stage, nor even be on the ballots in the early caucuses and primaries—garnered some major endorsements.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg landed endorsements from a trio of Congressional Black Caucus members — Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), and Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) — just a day after he came under fire for a 2015 recording of him defending the controversial policing policy known as stop and frisk, used in New York when he was mayor.
On Thursday, House Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) jumped on the Bloomberg bus. The 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took place in Deutch’s district, and he said Bloomberg’s fight against gun violence helped win his support just a day before the two-year anniversary of the mass shooting.
The four announcements bring the number of Bloomberg’s House endorsements to 13. More than half of those endorsements have come in the past week alone, as Bloomberg has risen to third place in national polling, behind Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden, who had disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Speculation is increasing over whether Bloomberg will be allowed to participate in next week’s Las Vegas primary debate after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) opened the stage to the former New York City mayor.
The DNC scrapped a donor threshold requirement that has kept the self-funded candidate out of the previous debates. Now, with the funding threshold removed, he needs just one more state or national poll putting him over 10 percent to qualify.