Michael Bloomberg is preparing to enter the 2020 presidential race as a Democrat, the New York Times reported Thursday.
The former New York City mayor and billionaire is expected to file paperwork to declare himself a candidate in states with early filing deadlines this week, a Bloomberg spokesman told CNN. He has dispatched staffers to Alabama, one of the states with an early filing deadline, to collect signatures so that he can qualify for its primary, according to the Times.
A rep for Bloomberg did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bloomberg’s apparent change of heart comes eight months after he had publicly stated that he was not going to be running for president in the 2020 election. (Despite his past declaration that he wasn’t running for office, Bloomberg still received an endorsement from Judy Sheindelin, best known as “Judge Judy” on television, in an op-ed last month USA Today.)
If Bloomberg does move forward with an official presidential run, he will be making a late entrance into an already crowded group of Democratic presidential candidates and will likely be a comparable opponent to former vice president Joe Biden.
“We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated — but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that,” one of Bloomberg’s advisers, Howard Wolfson, told the Times. “If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist.”