WASHINGTON — Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg makes his first presidential campaign visit to Illinois on Wednesday, with plans to meet with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and to talk about job development.
At Olive-Harvey College, Bloomberg is expected to discuss his policies for jobs and income growth modeled on innovations he put in place when he was New York mayor. Bloomberg is staking his White House bid on his New York government and business achievements.
Whether this translates nationwide remains to be seen as the billionaire Bloomberg is pouring millions of his own money into the primary.
Things to know about Bloomberg’s Illinois debut as his late-starting campaign is focusing on the delegate-rich March primary states rather than states with February contests:
• Bloomberg hits Chicago to talk about urban issues in the morning. Then he jumps to Wells, Minnesota, to visit a soybean farm (Illinois is one of the major soybean producing states) and then heads to Akron, Ohio, to discuss small-business issues at the Bounce Innovation Hub.
The three states all have March primaries; Illinoisans vote March 17.
Bloomberg, unlike front-running Democratic presidential rivals Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, did not file delegate slates by the Illinois deadline Friday. Bloomberg is gambling he can earn delegates through another route in Illinois, by winning an overwhelming vote in each of the state’s 18 congressional districts.
• The Bloomberg Illinois campaign is staffing up and opened its first office at 325 N. LaSalle St., the building where Lightfoot housed her transition team. And speaking of the mayor …
• Lightfoot’s endorsement is highly sought by all the presidential Democrats, but don’t expect anything soon.
So far, according to Lightfoot political adviser Dave Mellet, Lightfoot has met with Pete Buttigieg; Kamala Harris, who dropped out; Amy Klobuchar; Cory Booker; and Julian Castro, who dropped out and endorsed Warren. The Biden team has asked to meet with Lightfoot.
• Observations about the Olive-Harvey location: It is in the 2nd Congressional District, one of the most heavily Democratic in the state. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., who is close to Lightfoot, represents it. A Bloomberg anti-gun super PAC spent heavily in Kelly’s first primary, a factor in her win.