The latest entry in the Democratic presidential primary race, Mike Bloomberg filled the Cadillac Service Garage on East Market Street with supporters on a rainy Thursday morning, Feb. 13.
Before Bloomberg spoke, the line of umbrellas was around the corner and half a block down Church Street. A Bloomberg campaign staffer said they had over 500 people in the building.
Bloomberg left no doubt about why he entered the race. He said, “I’m running to defeat Donald Trump.” He added that line got him the biggest applause everywhere he went.
And other than a few jokes and nice comments about North Carolina, most of his short stump speech was about Trump and the need to get him out of the White House.
Bloomberg said, “He’s a bully and he’s from New York. I’m from New York and I know how to deal with New York bullies.”
Normally, entering the race at such a late date would be the kiss of death to a candidate. But this is far from a normal year and Bloomberg has a couple of things going for him. One is that he is worth over $60 billion, so he doesn’t have to spend time raising money.
But also the conventional wisdom is that Sen. Bernie Sanders may be able to win the Democratic nomination but can’t win the presidency. And it looks like Joe Biden, who pundits think could win the presidency, can’t win the Democratic nomination.
That leaves the door open for a late arriving, self-funded, well-known candidate like Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.
In his speech, Bloomberg didn’t talk about the other candidates in the Democratic primary, he concentrated on Trump and on his own accomplishments while mayor.
Bloomberg did hit the Democratic talking points – gun control, abortion rights, climate change, education and “opportunity for all, not for a few.”
Bloomberg said that he has gone up against Trump and won. He said in 2018 he helped the Democrats take back the House and that started the impeachment process. He said, “Since the Senate didn’t hold him accountable, it’s up to us.”
Bloomberg had spoken earlier in the day in Winston-Salem and said one big problem he was having in his campaign so far was finding rooms big enough to handle the crowds. He said, “It’s a good problem to have.”
The announcement was made Wednesday that the event would be moved from a smaller venue to the Cadillac Service Garage, which was barely big enough to handle the crowd.