Opening his first political campaign office in Wisconsin, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg met with Milwaukee voters in the Third Ward and Walker’s Point on December 21 during his stop in Milwaukee as a Democratic Presidential candidate.

Just under a month since announcing his bid for the presidency, Bloomberg said that he was working to restore Wisconsin as a blue state. After Philadelphia and Detroit, Milwaukee was the final city of his whistle-stop campaign of battleground states that Democrats lost to Trump in 2016.

“Our campaign is going to make Wisconsin a top priority. Not starting in the spring or the summer, but right now. We’re opening our offices right away,” said Bloomberg. “We’re going to be registering voters in all of these states because of 2016. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are supposed to be our ‘blue wall,’ but we can’t wait to the general election to start rebuilding it. We’ve got to start right now.”

The billionaire businessman said that Wisconsin is one of the key states in the country and the electoral process. He was encouraged that Senator Tammy Baldwin had been re-elected, and former Governor Scott Walker had been “sent off to an early retirement.”

So far he has invested $20 million of his own funds into voter registration efforts in key battleground states, including Wisconsin. He has also rolled out a $100 million advertising campaign targeting Trump, which has saturated national broadcast media outlets.

“Some people have asked, what’s your connection with with Milwaukee? I grew up in Boston. And the Braves were there when I grew up. Nuff said,” stated Bloomberg during his campaign rally. “Milwaukee is one of the great cities and not only because you have great beer, but because you have great mayors. Your Mayor Tom Barrett has been one of them for 15 years. We met back when he was in his first term, and Donald Trump was only on his fifth bankruptcy.”

Mayor Tom Barrett visited the candidate’s new campaign office during the event. However, as Mayor of the city hosting the 2020 Democratic National Convention he has declined to formally endorsing any candidate yet. Mayor Barrett was the founding member of the coalition of Mayors against illegal guns, which Bloomberg had also been a part of during his tenure as NYC Mayor.

Bloomberg began his visit to the Cream City with an informal tour of the Milwaukee Public Market. Along with stopping for selfies with members of the public and chatting with voters, he purchased a bag of Clock Shadow Creamery’s cheese curds and bottles of Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company. Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bowman and former Racine Mayor John Dickert were among area politicians who Bloomberg greeted, and civic leaders like Darryl Morin of Forward Latino.

As the latest contender in a crowded field of Democratic candidates, Bloomberg made an unusual entry into the national political arena by skipping Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. He plans instead to concentrate on Super Tuesday state primaries in March.

Only 3% of likely Democratic primary voters in Wisconsin said Bloomberg was their first choice, according to a recent Marquette Law School poll. Former Vice President Joe Biden was at the top preference with 23%, followed by Bernie Sanders at 19%, Elizabeth Warren at 16%, and Pete Buttigieg at 15%.

Bloomberg told the crowd of several hundred at his campaign office rally that he was “in it for the long haul.” He plans to keep the Milwaukee office open through November 2020, even if he does not win the nomination in July. The effort is to support the Democratic Party and defeat Donald Trump.

“Trump has pulled this country apart, even though some of it was done even before him. We’ve just got to pull everybody together. We’ve got to get people from both sides of the house to come together and craft legislation to address the problems that we have,” added Bloomberg. “We have homeless in the streets, we have guns, we have a climate crisis, we have an education system and immigration system, all these things are failing us. And we just can’t go on this way. So we’ve got to pull things together.”

Lee Matz
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