Billionaire candidate Mike Bloomberg suspended his 2020 presidential campaign Wednesday morning after spending more than $550 million to win the Democratic Party’s nomination and still receiving disappointing results on “Super Tuesday.”
He is endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden.
A campaign spokesman told PEOPLE that Bloomberg decided to end his campaign Wednesday morning.
“Three months ago, I entered the race for President to defeat Donald Trump. Today, I am leaving the race for the same reason: to defeat Donald Trump — because it is clear to me that staying in would make achieving that goal more difficult,” Bloomberg, 78, said in a statement. “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 announced his long-shot presidential bid in November, nearly a year after every other candidate in the historically large Democratic field announced their own campaigns.
The three-term former mayor of New York City then embarked on one of the most unusual presidential campaigns in American history, spending more than $550 million from the fortune he made through his eponymous Bloomberg business news company in an effort other Democratic candidates criticized as an attempt to “buy the presidency.”
Most of that fortune went to a nationwide ad blitz which, for a time, showed him in the upper tier of candidates according to voter polling.
He was looking to make a big splash on “Super Tuesday,” but failed to win in any of the 14 states who held their primary votes — notching 12 delegates and a win instead in the U.S. territory American Samoa, which held a Democratic caucus.
More than 1,300 of the 1,991 delegates needed to win the nomination were up for grabs on Tuesday, when Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won all of the voting states and became the focal point of the Democratic race.
“We made our campaign slogan a clear, simple promise: Mike will get it done. And I intend to keep working on the ‘it,'” Bloomberg said in his Wednesday statement. “I will continue to work for sensible, common sense policy solutions that can get done.”
Scott Olson/Getty Images Mike Bloomberg
Bloomberg hinged his campaign on having the finances and experience needed to defeat incumbent Republican President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election.
“I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America,” Bloomberg said when he announced his run late last year. “We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions.”
But the candidate’s own record fell under heavy scrutiny as he walked into the 2020 spotlight — most notably during his Democratic debate debut in February.
He faced criticism for his past support of the racist “stop and frisk” policing policy while mayor of N.Y.C., which allowed the city’s police to disproportionately stop people from minority backgrounds. (He apologized in the fall for supporting the policy, shortly before announcing his 2020 campaign. This reversed years of him defending “stop and frisk.”)
Bloomberg also faced questions about a past audio recording that showed him appearing to blame the 2008 housing crisis, which led to the Great Recession, on banks’ inability to continue discriminatory loan practices that also targeted minority groups and those living in low-income areas — also known as “redlining.”
His most public campaign hurdle came during the Nevada debate in mid-February at the hands of a viral takedown from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who aggressively questioned Bloomberg about his history of allegedly demeaning and mistreating women in light of a number of sexual harassment complaints against him and his media company.
The billionaire seemed to fumble in his response as Warren cited instances when Bloomberg had allegedly called women “fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” and she accused Bloomberg of sexual harassment and discrimination against women.
Bloomberg admitted that his company had “a few”confidentiality agreements with women, but he declined to release them when Warren pressed him to do so live on TV during the debate.
“We are not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who has who knows how many nondisclosure agreements and the drip, drip, drip of stories of women saying they have been harassed and discriminated against,” Warren said, bringing Bloomberg’s “electability” into question. “That’s not what we do as Democrats.”