Politics

Mike Bloomberg sees Bernie Sanders as the only 2020 Democratic candidate who threatens his possible nomination

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Key Points
  • Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's campaign said Tuesday that it sees Sen. Bernie Sanders as the only threat to Bloomberg winning the nomination and defeating Donald Trump.
  • Dan Kanninen, the lead state strategist for Bloomberg's campaign, told reporters Bloomberg and his team view Sanders as the only other Democratic candidate who has a shot at being "sworn into office next year."
  • With their sights set on Sanders, Bloomberg is expanding his ground game and opening 50 more campaign offices nationwide, including 10 more in the crucial state of Florida.
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Mike Bloomberg's campaign said on Tuesday that it sees Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as the only threat to Bloomberg winning the Democratic nomination and defeating Donald Trump in 2020.

Dan Kanninen, the lead state strategist for Bloomberg's campaign, led off a briefing with reporters by saying Bloomberg and his team view Sanders as the only other candidate who has a shot at being "sworn into office next year."

When asked why former Vice President Joe Biden was not on his list of candidates who could beat Trump in November, Kanninen pointed to a new round of polling, including in Florida, that he described as showing former front-runner Biden's status had "collapsed."

"It's consistent [with] what we are seeing from our own numbers. It's consistent [with] what we are seeing on the ground," the Bloomberg advisor said about Biden's struggles, while noting the growing crowd size at rallies for the former New York mayor in Florida, Virginia, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Biden has dropped in recent surveys since his disappointing fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, while Sanders and Bloomberg have surged. A Real Clear Politics polling average has Sanders in first, followed by Biden and Bloomberg, who started the race in seventh.

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With his sights set on Sanders, Bloomberg is expanding his ground game and opening 50 more campaign offices nationwide, including 10 more in the crucial state of Florida, the campaign said on Tuesday. The campaign has more than 130 staffers throughout the state who are engaging with voters and trying to persuade them to back Bloomberg in a primary that's scheduled for March 17.

The campaign has opened at least 150 campaign offices across the country and has more than 2,000 staffers nationwide.

A Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman confirmed to CNBC that it will have 200 offices opened by the end of the weekend.

Bloomberg, who has a net worth of just over $60 billion, has already been responding to Sanders' and his supporters' characterization that he's looking to buy the nomination.

The Bloomberg campaign on Monday launched a digital ad that linked Sanders to supporters known as "Bernie Bros" who attack Sanders' critics via social media. Sanders has repeatedly disavowed such practices.

Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg's campaign manager, took aim at Sanders with what appeared to be a threat of releasing opposition research against the longtime Vermont senator.

Bloomberg will face off against Sanders and his other Democratic primary opponents in a debate on Wednesday.

In addition to his digital ads attacking his Democratic rival, Bloomberg has been flooding the TV airwaves with ads aimed at damaging Trump. Data collected by Advertising Analytics shows the campaign has surpassed former President Barack Obama's 2012 TV ad spending spree by investing $338 million into TV ads alone nationwide.

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