Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is staking his entire candidacy on a potential second ballot during a probable contested Democratic convention and is already making moves to shore up support, Politico reports.
Bloomberg is “privately lobbying” Democratic Party officials, donors, and superdelegates linked to other moderate Democrats to prepare for a possible brokered convention.
The effort appears to be based on “poaching supporters of Joe Biden and other moderate Democrats,” according to the report, and aimed at stopping Bernie Sanders.
Bloomberg’s team has already spoken with Biden and Buttigieg supporters and superdelegates in a number of southern states.
“There’s a whole operation going on, which is genius,” said a Democratic strategist. “And it’s going to help them win on the second ballot … They’re telling them that’s their strategy.”
Other candidates make moves too:
Bloomberg is not the only candidate working superdelegates ahead of a possible contested election. Every candidate except Sanders said at Wednesday’s debate that they would rely on the convention process, which allows superdelegates to vote on the second ballot, instead of backing the popular vote leader if they don’t have a majority of delegates.
“Other candidates have quietly been in contact for months with superdelegates — the DNC members, members of Congress and other party officials who cannot vote on the first ballot at a contested national convention — but none have showcased it as a feature of their campaign, as Hillary Clinton did in 2016,” Politico reported.
Bloomberg spokeswoman Julie Wood acknowledged the effort.
“We have an enormous apparatus that is constantly reaching out to all types of people for support and to explain why we think Mike is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump,” she told Politico.
Contested convention increasingly likely:
Election forecaster FiveThirtyEight projects that there is a 42% chance that no candidate wins a majority of delegates and a 35% chance that Sanders clinches a majority.
It’s increasingly likely that Sanders will be unable to win enough delegates to clinch on the first ballot as a result of a large field of candidates. Other candidates have little hopes of catching up.
"Bloomberg could certainly do reasonably well on Super Tuesday and get a surge in later states," wrote FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver. "But at that point, 38 percent of delegates will already have been chosen." Even if Bloomberg can win 30% of the delegates on Super Tuesday, he would then "need to get 64 percent of the delegates in all the states beyond Super Tuesday to earn a majority of pledged delegates, which is an awfully high bar to clear."