Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has filed paperwork to run for US president as a Democrat, the latest sign that the billionaire is considering joining the crowded nominating contest.
- Mr Bloomberg served first as a Republican mayor of New York, then as an independent
- He is one of the richest men in America whose net worth exceeds $US50 billion
- He is a strong advocate for climate change action, abortion access, and gun control
He filed the papers with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, which allows him to raise money for his presidential bid.
But his aide said Mr Bloomberg has not made a final decision.
The 77-year-old media mogul and financier is one of the richest people in the world.
His estimated net worth exceeds $US50 billion ($74 billion), and he has already committed to spending more than $US100 million to help defeat President Donald Trump in 2020, whether he runs or not.
His enormous wealth, his ties to Wall Street, and his status as a former Republican could make it difficult for him to win support among traditional Democratic primary voters.
In the lead-up to his 2001 New York mayor bid, Mr Bloomberg ran as a Republican.
Later in the decade he left the party and ran as an independent.
Throughout his terms as mayor, Mr Bloomberg was an advocate of access to abortion, gun-control, and policies designed to reduce climate change.
ABC’s Planet America co-host John Barron described Mr Bloomberg’s mayoralty reflecting a political “hybrid”.
“He was a curious hybrid, progressive on social issues, supporting abortion rights and marriage equality, but a pro-business fiscal conservative who brought the budget back into surplus,” Barron said.
Bloomberg’s late bid to address Democratic ‘weakness’
Should he run, his advisers have charted an unconventional strategy that calls for him to bypass the first four states on the primary calendar and make an aggressive play for the so-called “Super Tuesday” states that vote in early March.
Before Thursday’s federal filing, he had already filed paperwork to qualify for presidential primary ballots in three states.
Mr Bloomberg’s team said he was stepping toward a run because of the perceived weakness at the top of the current Democratic field, particularly in establishment-favourite former vice-president Joe Biden’s candidacy.
Mr Bloomberg, 77, has signalled that he plans a late-entry in the Democratic primary, which still has almost 20 candidates in the running.
If he enters, he will likely forgo the early states that potential rivals have been visiting for months.
Mr Bloomberg had already registered to appear on the ballot in Alabama, Arkansas and Texas.
A separate adviser said on Thursday that the potential candidate also filed to be on the ballot in Georgia and Michigan.