We’re approaching rodeo season in Texas and it looks like Democrat candidate Michael Bloomberg is taking his best shot at lassoing the support of moderate-leaning voters in the state. Can he take advantage of Joe Biden’s less than stellar performance in Iowa by striking while the iron is hot?
Yes, of course, he can. Michael Bloomberg has already pledged to spend whatever amount of money is needed to win the Democrat primary and then go on to do the same running against President Trump. His campaign playbook is a non-traditional one – he’s skipping the early state contests and targeting the states who vote on Super Tuesday. The two big prizes in the delegate count on that day will come from Texas and California.
It looks like Bernie is poised to win big in California if everything holds as it is now, so it’s sensible that Bloomberg is focusing on Texas. Texas is a better fit for Bloomberg anyway, with more moderate Democrats than in California. Bloomberg makes Texas a regular stop on his campaign schedule and trust me when I tell you he is flooding the airwaves with ads. For moderate Democrats looking for a candidate to support, I have to think that by Super Tuesday Bloomberg will be under consideration by many of the potential Biden voters. It will depend on if Sleepy Joe can reignite his base but if he flames out, Bloomberg is ready to welcome them.
Bloomberg’s ground game is the best of any Democrat candidate. He makes his visits to the state newsworthy, including bringing along celebrities like Judge Judy to increase interest. Wednesday Bloomberg’s campaign announced plans to open 20 more campaign offices across the state and offered up a list of endorsements.
Bloomberg’s campaign unveiled an endorsement list that includes three state representatives, several former mayors and some city council members. His campaign also said it plans to open 11 additional field offices throughout the state this weekend, pressing forward on plans to expand the campaign’s footprint into the largest operation of any Democratic presidential candidate in Texas.
Bloomberg’s latest endorsers include some who’ve announced their support in recent days and some making it known for the first time Wednesday — including state Rep. Julie Johnson, D-Carrollton, who’ll serve as a state co-chair for the campaign. One of the state lawmakers on the list, state Rep. Cesár Blanco, D-El Paso, previously supported the failed presidential bids of both Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro. State Rep. Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont, also announced his support for Bloomberg on Wednesday.
Some already-announced names on the list include former Houston Mayor Bill White, former El Paso Mayor John Cook and Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion — all Democrats.
Bill White served as Houston’s mayor from 2004-2010 and ran as a business-friendly pragmatist. It is not surprising that he supports Bloomberg in light of Biden’s lackluster performance to date. He was U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton in the 90s. He’s not looking to support a candidate from the socialist wing of the party.
Bloomberg has visited Texas four times since he launched his campaign ten weeks ago. (It seems like so much longer, doesn’t it?) Those following the Democrat primary say his is the strongest ground game of any of the Democrats – his very deep pockets given him that advantage. He is unapologetically trying to buy the nomination.
Bloomberg has already built an unmatched ground game in Texas. A spokeswoman for Bloomberg’s campaign said it currently has 72 staff members on the ground and will have 150 staffers in the state by Super Tuesday. Elizabeth Warren, the U.S. senator from Massachusetts, until recently led the way in building a formal Texas organization, making over two dozen hires spread across San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and the Rio Grande Valley.
Texas sends 228 pledged delegates to the national convention, joined by 34 unpledged PLEO delegates (21 members of the Democratic National Committee and 13 members of Congress, of which all are U.S. Representatives). I think that those are the total numbers, I’m not an expert on the Democrats’ delegate system and I think the Super Delegate system is crazy. The point is, whoever wins Texas will bank a tidy amount of delegates on the way to the national convention. Since Bloomberg is relying on Super Tuesday states, it makes sense for him to concentrate on Texas and spend the resources necessary to challenge Biden. Biden is the frontrunner right now but that can change. Polling has been scarce but I expect that to ramp up as we get closer to March 3.
He’s showing up for the right events. Bloomberg is slated to be a guest speaker for the Johnson Rayburn Richards awards dinner, an annual event hosted by the Harris County Democratic Party, on Feb. 13. There’s no doubt that he knows whoever wins Harris County, wins the state. This morning on Fox and Friends, I heard Don Peebles, a former Obama National Finance Committee member say, “Biden is teetering right now, he’s holding on for dear life.” He thinks that Bloomberg will do well even in New Hampshire and South Carolina and “upset the apple cart.” That remains to be seen. Peebles also said he doesn’t think that either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren “even believe all that they say.” He says they just “focus on talking points and narratives.” I disagree about Bernie, though. He’s a true believer and has remained consistent with his messaging for decades.
We’re about to see just how much traction a couple of billion dollars can buy in the Democrat primaries. I even got a text message from Team Bloomberg last night. And, no, Mr. Bloomberg, you can not count on my support.