Local Bloomberg Office Still Open, Awaits New Orders

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Local supporters of Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign are awaiting new marching orders, now that the candidate has announced he is ending his bid to be the Democratic nominee and challenge President Donald Trump’s reelection bid.

The multibillionaire and former New York City mayor who staked his hopes on the Super Tuesday nominating contests, announced Wednesday morning that he is dropping out of the race after disappointing finishes and endorsed Joe Biden.

Jaladah Aslam, a local labor activist who served as regional organizing director for Bloomberg’s downtown Youngstown office, said Wednesday that she was notified in the morning, before Bloomberg’s public announcement, that he was ending his campaign.

She spent much of the day on conference calls with the Bloomberg campaign.

“We’re waiting on instructions,” she said.

The office, at 237 E. Front St., was quiet. Signs for Bloomberg still hung inside the office, where flats of bottled water and refill jugs for water coolers sat on the floor.

Aslam was named regional organizing director for the campaign on Feb. 12, and the headquarters was opened two days later.

Bottled water and campaign signage remain in the headquarters.

The fate of the office remains uncertain. During his short-lived campaign, Bloomberg had pledged to support the eventual nominee and to turn over the infrastructure he had built to the candidate.

“We’ve been told we’ve got more work to do,” Aslam said. “We’re not sure what that means.”

She also said she was comfortable supporting Biden. “Mike is supporting Joe so I am supporting Joe,” she remarked.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who pledged his support for Biden after ending his own bid for the Democratic nomination last fall, was pleased with Biden’s results Tuesday and the Bloomberg announcement.

“I don’t know if a week ago, even four or five days ago, it would be this good,” Ryan, D-13 Ohio, said.

As momentum began to build, particularly following the endorsements by former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who also dropped out of the race this week, the sense grew that Tuesday “had the potential of being a great night” for Biden.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Wednesday he was not ready to endorse a candidate yet, although he did not rule out an endorsement prior to Ohio’s March 17 primary. “I want to see how this all goes,” he said.

Brown, who onsidered seeking the Democratic nomination before ultimately deciding to sit out the contest, said during his weekly conference call with reporters that he spoke with Warren “to wish her well with her decision.”

According to media reports, Warren was taking Wednesday to assess her path forward after falling short in meeting the threshold to earn delegates in several states and finishing third – behind Biden and Sanders – in her own state.

Brown did not offer his fellow senator any advice regarding whether she should remain in the race. “I don’t have an opinion on what people should do with their lives and their careers in politics,” he said.

Brown is confident that the Democratic nominee will defeat Trump, who he said has betrayed Ohio. Among those he said the president has turned his back on were the workers at the now closed General Motors Lordstown plant and companies that would benefit from the Manufacturing Extension Program, which he said Trump eliminated in his budget.

He also criticized Trump for eliminating overtime pay for thousands of Ohioans by changing the salary threshold for overtime pay, and for opposing an increase in the minimum wage.

“The numbers of people who have voted in this primary tells me that people are ready for change. They know this president,” he said. “Elections are about contrast and Democrats need to talk about the dignity of work and contrast that with his betrayal of workers.”

Dan Lusheck, spokesman for Trump Victory in Ohio, was confident about the president’s prospects.

“While Bloomberg just wasted half a billion dollars on a failed White House pipe dream, Trump Victory never left Ohio after 2016 and will be ready for whichever socialist the Democrats decide to nominate,” he said.

Ryan expects Biden’s Ohio campaign stops to include the Mahoning Valley, where he can see local successes such as the electric vehicle development going on in Lordstown.

“We want to show him everything we’re doing,” Ryan said. Biden has “a much different view” from Trump regarding tax credits for buying electric vehicles and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, which electric vehicle startup Lordstown Motors Corp. is considering and which Trump eliminated funding in his proposed budget.

Pictured above: In this file photo from Feb. 14, Greg Fischer, Mike Bloomberg 2020 National co-chair and Mayor of Louisville, addresses media at the opening of the local Bloomberg campaign headquarters. Joining him are DeMaine Kitchen, Youngstown City Council President, campaign field organizers Shienne Williams and Bria Bennett, Bernadette Pernotto, volunteer, and Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righettii.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.