WASHINGTON – Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who jumped into the 2020 election in late November, ended his presidential bid, according to his campaign.
In a statement Wednesday, Bloomberg said staying in the race would make it more difficult for Democrats to defeat President Donald Trump.
“I’m a believer in using data to inform decisions. After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible – and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists," Bloomberg's statement read. "But I remain clear-eyed about my overriding objective: victory in November. Not for me, but for our country. And so while I will not be the nominee, I will not walk away from the most important political fight of my life."
Bloomberg put his support behind former Vice President Joe Biden, who won the majority of the states on Super Tuesday and reclaimed his front-runner status.
“I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden," Bloomberg said.
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Biden thanked Bloomberg for his "tireless work on everything from gun safety reform to climate change."
"This race is bigger than candidates and bigger than politics," Biden said in a tweet. "It’s about defeating Donald Trump, and with your help, we’re gonna do it."
Bloomberg, 78, whom Forbes estimates is worth more than $64 billion, was the last Democrat to jump into the crowded primary field. He used his wealth to try to overcome the disadvantages that came with his late entry, such as not making it to any of the primary debates in 2019, and his opponents’ monthslong head start on the campaign trail.
Ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics said Bloomberg's campaign was the highest-spending presidential campaign of all time, surpassing President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign, which set the previous record of more than $338 million. Bloomberg spent his own money. Advertising Analytics said the former New York City mayor spent $558 million on ads during his time in the race.
Bloomberg put much of his resources into Super Tuesday, rather than the four states that voted earlier.
Bloomberg's performance Tuesday was not enough. He won American Samoa but captured just 44 Democratic delegates, not nearly enough to challenge the totals of Biden (453) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (382).
Bloomberg was not helped by two debate performances that were widely considered abysmal.
Trump responded to the end of Bloomberg's campaign by taking a shot at him.
"I could have told him long ago that he didn’t have what it takes, and he would have saved himself a billion dollars, the real cost," Trump tweeted. "Now he will pour money into Sleepy Joe’s campaign, hoping to save face. It won’t work!"
Bloomberg announced his candidacy Nov. 24 after weeks of speculation that he was going to jump in. Several media reports in October said Bloomberg was reconsidering his decision to run for president after saying in March that he would stay out of the race because he was "clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field."
In November, Bloomberg’s adviser Howard Wolfson said the former mayor was "increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well-positioned" to beat Trump. Even before officially announcing his candidacy, Bloomberg filed paperwork Nov. 8 to run in the Democratic presidential primary in Alabama.
"I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America," Bloomberg said in a statement on his campaign website. "We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions. He represents an existential threat to our country and our values. If he wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage."
Bloomberg was elected mayor as a Republican in 2001. He was reelected in 2005, but two years later, he left the Republican Party. He was an independent when he was reelected in 2009.
The former mayor battled controversies over his remarks about race, gender and criminal justice, which his critics and rivals in the Democratic primary field slammed as racist, sexist and disqualifying for higher office.
Contributing: William Cummings and Nicholas Wu