Bloomberg Takes Steps Into 2020 Race and Signals an Unconventional Campaign Strategy

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“I don’t think that big money ought to be able to buy our elections, and that’s true whether we’re talking about billionaires or corporate executives that fund PACs or big lobbyists,” Ms. Warren said.

Mr. Bloomberg initially decided last winter that he would not challenge Mr. Trump in 2020, in large part because he concluded he could not win the Democratic nomination with Mr. Biden in the race, as a formidable standard-bearer for the party’s moderate wing. But Mr. Biden’s struggles in recent months have given Mr. Bloomberg new optimism that there is space for him in the campaign.

There is considerable skepticism among the leading Democratic candidates about Mr. Bloomberg’s path forward in a 2020 primary. A centrist business mogul in his eighth decade, he would be seeking to lead a party focused on questions of economic inequality, cultural diversity and generational change. (The 2020 field already has several candidates in their 70s: Mr. Sanders is 78, Mr. Biden is 76, Mr. Trump is 73 and Ms. Warren is 70.)

But unlike the rest, Mr. Bloomberg has never run a political campaign outside New York City, and he has neither a sweeping progressive platform, like Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, nor a famous friendship with the first black president, like Mr. Biden, to excite the Democratic base.

A political nomad with respect to party affiliation, Mr. Bloomberg was elected mayor three times on the Republican ticket before he registered as a Democrat during the midterm elections and spent more than $100 million to help the party take control of the House of Representatives.

Former Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a moderate who has endorsed Mr. Biden, said he believed Mr. Bloomberg had the potential to cut into Mr. Biden’s electoral coalition.

“I very much would like to see Joe Biden be president, but if Mike Bloomberg was the nominee of the Democratic Party, would I be disappointed?” Mr. Kerrey said. “Not in the slightest.”

Other supporters of Mr. Biden were more dismissive.

“There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell of him getting the nomination,” said John Morgan, a Florida trial lawyer who is raising money for Mr. Biden. “He’s a Republican billionaire.”

Alexander Burns reported from New York and Katie Glueck from Concord, N.H. Thomas Kaplan contributed reporting from Raleigh, N.C.

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