Saturday, December 14, 2019

“Mayors for Mike”: How Bloomberg's money built a 2020 political network

STOCKTON, California - Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton appeared to be an unlikely political duo on Wednesday as they praised each other. Tubbs, a 29-year-old Liberal who is Stockton's first black mayor, hailed Bloomberg as a leader "with the resources, the record and the relationships" to defeat President Trump in 2020. Bloomberg, a A 77-year-old centrist billionaire called the young man "my kind of mayor."

Mr. Tubbs had reason to bond with Mr. Bloomberg. Last year, he graduated from a mayor training program sponsored by Mr. Bloomberg at Harvard University. Tubbs attended a conference co-sponsored by the Bloomberg philanthropic foundation in Paris in 2017 and was featured in his 2018 Annual Report. And last June, the Bloomberg foundation donated $ 500,000 to a group education reform based in Stockton, a struggling interior town in northern California.

As Mr. Bloomberg crosses the country as a presidential candidate, he draws on a vast network of city leaders whom he has funded as a philanthropist or advised as the world's longest-serving statesman. municipal policy. Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has assets totaling $ 9 billion, has supported 196 different cities with grants, technical assistance and education programs totaling $ 350 million. Now the leaders of some of these cities form the backbone of Mr. Bloomberg's campaign: it has so far been approved by eight mayors - big cities like San Jose, California and Louisville, Ky., And smaller ones like Gary, Ind., representing a total of more than 2.6 million Americans.



For all of these endorsers, Mr. Bloomberg has been an important benefactor. All of them attended his prestigious training camp at Harvard, which gives mayors access to ongoing strategic advice from experts funded by Bloomberg. According to a review of tax documents and interviews with the eight mayors, more than half have received funding in the form of grants and other support programs from Mr. Bloomberg totaling almost $ 10 million.

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