Billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg filed paperwork on Tuesday to appear on the Democratic primary ballot in Arkansas, the latest indication he expects to mount a run for the White House.
Bloomberg, 77, filed paperwork in Alabama last week to appear on the ballot there. Alabama had a Nov. 8 deadline for candidates to file, the first deadline in the nation. Arkansas also has an early deadline.
Bloomberg traveled to Little Rock to file the paperwork at the Arkansas State Capitol, TV11 reported. Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston confirmed the filing in a tweet.
While in Little Rock, Bloomberg planned to dine with Mayor Frank Scott Jr. at Sims BBQ.
Jason Schechter, Bloomberg’s spokesman, told the New York Post that it would be accurate to call the Arkansas filing “another step” towards officially joining the 2020 race.
Despite the filings, Bloomberg’s team is not committing to saying the mogul is actually running.
“If Mike runs, he’s going to go to states that Democratic candidates don’t often visit. That starts today in Little Rock,” Schechter said.
Former President Bill Clinton was the last Democrat to win Arkansas. Clinton was born and raised in the state and his presidential library is situated in Little Rock. Hillary Clinton, Bill’s wife, has not ruled out a 2020 run.
Bloomberg spokesman Howard Wolfson told CNN last week that Bloomberg’s entry, if it comes, would be late and that the candidate would be forced to focus outside Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, where the first four Democratic primaries will be held in February 2020.
“If we run, we are confident we can win in states voting on Super Tuesday and beyond, where we will start on an even footing,” said Wolfson.
“But the late timing of our entry means that many candidates already have a big head start in the four early states, where they’ve spent months and months campaigning and spending money. We have enormous respect for the Democratic primary process and many friends in those states, but our plan is to run a broad-based, national campaign.”
Wolfson added to the New York Times that Bloomberg sees an opening in the Democratic field.
“We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated—but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well-positioned to do that,” Wolfson said.
“If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist.”