The former New York mayor’s op-ed, which said the early-voting states lack diversity, was published hours before Cory Booker, one of the most prominent black candidates running for president, suspended his campaign, again drawing attention to a lack of racial diversity atop the Democratic field. Booker’s exit leaves just three candidates of color in a race that at one point was largely defined by its exceptional amount of diversity.
“The Democratic Party reflects America’s incredible diversity. But the first two voting states, Iowa and New Hampshire, are among the most homogenous in the nation,” Bloomberg wrote in the op-ed. “While it’s great that candidates reach out to voters in these states at every pancake breakfast and town hall around, what about African-American, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islanders, and other voters in places like Detroit, Montgomery, Phoenix, and Houston?”
Bloomberg, a late entrant into the presidential field, has chosen to ignore the early-voting contests, opting instead to focus his time and money on other states across the country, including those that Democrats are looking to win back from President Donald Trump in November. His op-ed, published on Monday, comes three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the first contest of the nominating process, and nearly a month before the New Hampshire primary.
The op-ed represents a shift in Bloomberg’s position from as recently as last week, when he told reporters in Ohio that “the system has gotten used to” the current slate of early-voting states leading the process, “and I guess the Democratic Party probably shouldn’t take it away.”
The Democratic Party is “in danger of repeating 2016 in large part because, as Democrats focus on Iowa and New Hampshire,” Trump is busy campaigning aggressively in battleground states, Bloomberg wrote.
“Tuesday, while Democrats are on stage in Des Moines,” he wrote, referring to the Democratic debate this week, “(Trump will) be speaking to thousands of supporters in Wisconsin — a state Democrats need to rebuild the Blue Wall.”
Bloomberg, a billionaire who is self-funding his campaign, will not participate in Tuesday night’s CNN debate because he did not meet the donor threshold to qualify.
Bloomberg noted that he values the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, but said that if elected, he’ll make sure the party coordinates with state leaders “to re-order the primary calendar in ways that better reflect our diverse electorate and channel more resources into” battleground states.
Asked about Bloomberg’s shift in position on the Democratic nominating process, his campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “At This Hour” that the former mayor was “trying to be very respectful to friends of his … in Iowa when asked.”
“Today, what he’s saying is what I think any American should see and does see, which is we are faced with an existential threat and we can’t be tied down by the rules of the past,” he said.
Bloomberg, whose wealth was amassed from a media empire, has cast himself as a problem solver on the campaign trail. Since announcing his run, he has focused on expensive ad buys and building a robust general election operation with top political strategists.
The outsized influence of early voting states has previously come under criticism. Former 2020 Democratic hopeful Julián Castro — whose exit, along with that of California Sen. Kamala Harris, helped decrease the amount of diversity in a race that has now become whiter and more male — said during his campaign that the primary calendar should better reflect the diversity of the Democratic Party.