Michael Bloomberg says he will not run for president

In a Monday afternoon piece, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he would not mount a campaign to be the U.S. president.

"Over the last several months, many Americans have urged me to run for president as an independent, and some who don't like the current candidates have said it is my patriotic duty to do so," he wrote in the Bloomberg View op-ed, later adding that "when I look at the data, it's clear to me that if I entered the race, I could not win. I believe I could win a number of diverse states — but not enough to win the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to win the presidency."

The billionaire businessman had publicly toyed with the idea of leading a third-party campaign, telling the Financial Times in February that he was "looking at all the options" for a potential White House bid.

Others, including billionaire investor Bill Ackman, had voiced their support for Bloomberg, but the former mayor ultimately decided that a three-race would be unlikely to see a candidate take a true majority of electoral votes — and even if he "were to receive the most popular votes and the most electoral votes, victory would be highly unlikely, because most members of Congress would vote for their party's nominee."

In fact, Bloomberg said current Republican control of both legislative houses would likely mean his candidacy could lead to the election of one of the GOP front-runners, businessman Donald Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. "That is not a risk I can take in good conscience," he wrote.

That decision will likely be welcome news for Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, whose side pundits had said would be more likely to lose voters to Bloomberg.

Although neither party's race has been decided, Bloomberg needed to make his campaign decision this month because of ballot access rules.

Still, Bloomberg used his no-campaign announcement to take a swipe at Trump — who leads the GOP delegate count — saying his fellow New York businessman "has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people's prejudices and fears."

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