RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg brought his campaign to North Carolina on Thursday as part of this two-day tour of the South.
The former mayor of New York City began his day in Winson-Salem and Greensboro before delivering a midday speech at Union Station in Raleigh.
Early voting in North Carolina began Thursday.
Bev Perdue, who was governor of North Carolina from 2009–13, introduced Bloomberg to the crowd with chants of “I like Mike.” Perdue is endorsing Bloomberg and serving as a campaign co-chair in North Carolina.
Bloomberg is testing how voters will respond to his unconventional approach to clinching the Democratic nomination to take on President Donald Trump, trying to make the case that he’s in the best position to defeat him in November.
“I don’t think we can last another four years with Donald Trump,” said Bloomberg. “The president attacked me again this morning on Twitter. Why? Because he sees our poll numbers and he’s scared. Because he knows we have a record and the resources to defeat him.”
Trump once again mocked Bloomberg’s height Thursday morning, to which Bloomberg responded by calling Trump a “carnival barking clown.”
“I am running as the candidate of sanity. I am running as the candidate for honesty and inclusion and compassion. And, I am running a campaign for human decency,” Bloomberg told the crowd in Raleigh.
Bloomberg did not address the recent criticism he’s faced for his previous support of New York’s stop-and-frisk policy. He has since apologized and said his thinking today does not reflect how he felt about it then.
Earlier this week, President Trump said, “Frankly, I’d rather run against Bloomberg than Sanders because Sanders has real followers.”
Bloomberg has moved up in recent polls in North Carolina’s Democratic primary. Meredith College political analyst David McLennan says that appears to be happening as former Vice President Joe Biden loses support.
“National polls indicate that Bloomberg is one of those that’s moving up. Now, he’s challenging for second place in national polls,” said Bloomberg. “It appears that the trends in North Carolina for Biden are very much like they are in other states. Once he did so poorly in Iowa, he’s been falling.”
While most candidates have focused on the traditional early voting states, Bloomberg has taken his campaign — and his sizable financial resources — into places like Tennessee and North Carolina that vote on Super Tuesday.
“He’s put his money where his mouth has been,” former Gov. Perdue said as she introduced Bloomberg.
And although only two states have voted in the primary process, he’s campaigning with the air of a front-runner, announcing plans on Wednesday to open an office in New Hampshire to keep the state in the Democratic column this fall.
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