Bloomberg to counterprogram Iowa caucus day with California delegate rush
While other 2020 contenders slog through Iowa, he's headed west.
The starting bell of 2020 is about to ring. And while the rest of the 2020 Democratic field is in Iowa, slogging through the snow and unruly fervor of caucus-eve, Mike Bloomberg will be touring across California.
Most of the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders--including the sitting senators who find themselves juggling time between the impeachment trial and the trail-- are vying for the 41 Hawkeye State delegates up for grabs. However, the former mayor of New York City will be sweeping through the Golden State as he prospects for the 415 California pledged delegates that are there for the taking.
He'll pan south through the state, starting in Sacramento at an event with supporters and organizers, then head to Fresno where he’ll participate in a “Ganamos con Mike” event on early voting. Then he'll head to Compton where he’ll be kicking off the bus tour. Those three cities are dynamic, diverse, and very different in their demographics; it remains to be seen whether, and how, Bloomberg will tailor his message toward voters in each city who are already primed for their say in the 2020 primary come March 3.
Then, come Tuesday, as the other candidates head to New Hampshire for the ABC News/WMUR-TV debate and then the state's primary, Bloomberg will head to Michigan and Pennsylvania for counterprogramming. President Donald Trump won both of those key battleground states in 2016 by a slim margin, and is investing time and energy in those states now.
It's all part of Bloomberg's overall campaign gambit: Bypass the four early states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada -- and key in on the Super Tuesday spots with a high delegate yield. Moreover, he’s specifically honing in on the swing states Trump picked up in 2016 that Democrats “should” have won, like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg's surrogates will be kicking off a "Get It Done Express" bus tour, which will spend the next ten days heading from California to North Carolina, with surrogates and supporters making stops along the way. Bloomberg himself will not be there, making it a dipartite campaign strategy with a wingspan from coast to coast.
Bloomberg’s energetic efforts at outreach demonstrate his appetite for seeking voters where they live; he has visited every single one of the Super Tuesday states upon which he's staking his entire 2020 bid.
Bloomberg's campaign points directly to the delegate math that's central to their strategy.
“Iowa and New Hampshire have 65 delegates. California, Michigan, and Pennsylvania have 726," Galia Slayen, a national spokeswoman for the campaign said in details shared first with ABC News.
With impeachment proceedings looming large over the current election efforts, Bloomberg is looking to benefit from the lush state spread that he's been investing in with his vast fortune.
His campaign has already fanned out across 35 states, and he has a staff of more than 1,000, including more than 700 field staff across all the Super Tuesday states, as well as 300 staffers in his New York headquarters.
Bloomberg has also faced some criticism from his 2020 rivals who have questioned how he has leveraged his wealth in his unorthodox bid. He has poured over $300 million into ad buys, all from his personal funds.
Moreover because he does not accept donations, he cannot under current rules qualify to meet the thresholds to participate in a Democratic National Committee-sponsored debate. This means he has yet to stand on a national stage and face tough questions from moderators and competitors in a setting aired across the country.
"He's skipping the Democracy part of this," Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said of Bloomberg's unconventional gambit.