Michael Bloomberg is, once again, not running for president.
The 77-year-old former New York City mayor said in a Tuesday afternoon statement that even though he believes he could defeat President Donald Trump, he will not seek the Democratic nomination.
“I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election,” he wrote. “But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field.”
Instead of mounting a campaign in a crowded field where a number of candidates would outflank him on the left, Bloomberg said he intends to continue funding efforts aimed at defeating Trump on issues like climate change and gun violence.
He announced in his column on the Bloomberg News website about deciding against a presidential run that he will launch Beyond Carbon, “a grassroots effort to begin moving America as quickly as possible away from oil and gas and toward a 100 percent clean energy economy.” In addition, Bloomberg said he would continue to push for gun-control legislation.
In October 2018, Bloomberg registered as a Democrat in a move many thought was a pre-cursor to a presidential bid. He also committed $80 million to the Democratic Party’s efforts to regain a majority in the House of Representatives.
His absence in the contest leaves a wider lane for a centrist candidate like former Vice President Joe Biden, who could feel more of a push to make a final decision in the coming weeks.
Even as he backed away from the electoral contest, Bloomberg cautioned Democrats not to nominate someone who he perceived as being too far left to defeat Trump.
“It’s essential that we nominate a Democrat who will be in the strongest position to defeat Donald Trump and bring our country back together,” he wrote. “We cannot allow the primary process to drag the party to an extreme that would diminish our chances in the general election and translate into ‘Four More Years.’”
Bloomberg’s prospective candidacy had not been viewed with open arms by the employees at his own news outlet. As The Daily Beast reported, among the 60+ Bloomberg News staffers asked about a potential bid, only one definitively wanted him to pursue the presidency.
In his efforts to unseat Trump, the former New York City mayor also urged former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, a fellow billionaire, to not pursue an independent bid for the White House.
“The data was very clear and very consistent,” Bloomberg said in January, referencing his prior research on an independent bid. “Given the strong pull of partisanship and the realities of the electoral college system, there is no way an independent can win. That is truer today than ever before.”