Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) spoke out against former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s consideration of a 2020 bid, chalking it up to “the arrogance of billionaires.”
While campaigning in Iowa on Saturday, Sanders told ABC News that Bloomberg’s plan to skip campaigning (if he enters the race) in early voting states proves just that.
“We’re all over New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, California,” Sanders said. “But he’s too important. You see, when you’re worth $50 billion, I guess you don’t have to have town meetings, you don’t have to talk to ordinary people. What you do is you take out, I guess a couple of billion dollars, and you buy the state of California.”
Sanders, who staked both his 2016 bid and his current campaign on opposition to the economic and political power of America’s ultra-rich, emphasized that message during his speech to voters in Coralville on Saturday, taking aim directly at Bloomberg.
“Sorry, you ain’t gonna buy this election,” he said, warning the potential candidate that he’s “not going to get elected president by avoiding Iowa” and other key states. “Those days are gone.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is also seeking the Democratic nomination, echoed Sanders’ skepticism of a Bloomberg bid during an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.
“When people look at this White House and see this multi-millionaire … I don’t think they say, ’Oh, we need someone richer,” she said. “I think you have to earn votes and not buy them.”
On Friday, Bloomberg took the initial steps of entering the race by turning in paperwork for the Alabama primary, meeting its early filing deadline and indicating he would focus his efforts on large states.
“If we run, we are confident we can win in states voting on Super Tuesday and beyond, where we will start on an even footing,” Bloomberg’s adviser, Howard Wolfson, told The Associated Press.
Alabamians will cast ballots on March 3 — aka Super Tuesday — along with voters in 13 other states, making it a turning point in the presidential nomination contest.
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