Bloomberg to Join Democratic Presidential Contenders at Wednesday’s Debate
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has qualified for Wednesday night’s presidential candidate debate, the first time the billionaire will appear onstage with his Democratic rivals.
A national poll from NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist released on Tuesday morning showed Bloomberg with 19% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, putting him in second place behind Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who had 31%.
That is a substantial surge since the group’s poll in December, showing Bloomberg with only 4% support.
Joe Biden came in third at 15%, a drop from 24% in December, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, was fourth, at 12% down from 17% in December, and Pete Buttigieg, was sixth, at 8%, down from 13% in December.
Aside from Bloomberg and Sanders, the only other candidate to rise significantly in the poll was Sen. Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, who has moved up to fifth place, ahead of Buttigieg, garnering the support of 9% of poll respondents, up from 4% in December.
The survey was the fourth national qualifying poll since mid-January that showed Bloomberg with at least 10 % support, enough to earn him an invitation to the debate stage before the deadline of 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday.
“Our campaign is seeing a groundswell of support across the country, and qualifying for the February 19 debate is the latest sign that Mike’s plan and ability to defeat Donald Trump is resonating with more and more Americans,” Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said in a written statement. “Mike is looking forward to joining the other Democratic candidates on stage and making the case for why he’s the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump and unite the country.”
The two-hour debate at Las Vegas’s Paris Theater, airs on Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern time, and will be hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and The Nevada Independent.
The debate will be moderated by NBC News’ Lester Holt, Chuck Dodd and Hallie Jackson, Telemundo’s Vanessa Hauc and Nevada Independent’s Jon Ralston.
Bloomberg formally entered the race in November, nearly a year after most of the other candidates. He failed to make the cut for the past several debates in part because he is not accepting outside contributions for his campaign.
However, new rules announced by the Democratic National Committee opened the door to his participation, as they enabled candidates to qualify for the Las Vegas debate, as well as the one that will take place on Feb. 25 in Charleston, S.C., without meeting a donor threshold.
These changes, along with Bloomberg’s surging popularity, have prompted Sanders to step up his criticism in recent days of Bloomberg’s tactics and motivation for jumping into the race.
“Mr. Bloomberg, like anybody else, has a right to run for president,” Sanders said at a San Francisco Bay Area rally on Monday. “He does not have a right to buy the presidency.”
The Las Vegas debate comes a few days before Nevada voters gather for their caucuses on Feb. 22. Bloomberg is not on the ballot in Nevada, opting to stake much of his hopes on a solid showing in Super Tuesday contests on March 3.
In The News
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a large part of eastern Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribes - a significant victory for a reservation that challenged the state's authority to prosecute crimes on its land. Writing for the majority, in the 5-4 decision, Justice... Read More
A Jacksonville attorney filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking a circuit court to declare next month’s Republican National Convention a nuisance “injurious to the health,” and require it to either be cancelled or scaled down to a much smaller event with strict mask and social distancing requirements.... Read More
WASHINGTON - International students at universities across the country have been rattled and confused by a new Trump administration rule that threatens to deport them if they are unable to attend in-person classes in the fall. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency on Monday said... Read More
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that neither Article II of the Constitution nor the Supremacy Clause categorically preclude or require a heightened standard for the issuance of a state criminal subpoena to a sitting president. The 7-2 ruling by the high court in... Read More
WASHINGTON - More than 1.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a pace that suggests employers continue to lay people off in the face of a resurgent coronavirus. The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of jobless benefits claims did decline from 1.4... Read More
Voting by mail, a centerpiece of elections in Florida for almost 20 years, is being hailed in 2020 as a life-saving necessity amid the coronavirus pandemic and attacked by President Donald Trump and his supporters as “fraud.” Elections supervisors can begin sending out mail-in ballots on... Read More