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Michael Bloomberg files paperwork in Arkansas to get on the primary ballot

Bloomberg's candidacy could shake up race

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took another step towards officially announcing a presidential bid on Tuesday, filing paperwork in Little Rock, Arkansas, to get on the Democratic primary ballot for that state. Bloomberg is pursuing an unusual campaign strategy, since he is likely to skip the first four primary states in favor of focusing on the states that are up for grabs on Super Tuesday.

Bloomberg spokesman Jason Schechter told CBS News that Bloomberg was targeting states that don't often get a lot of attention from candidates ahead of the primaries, thanks to the focus on early states Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

"If Mike runs, he's going to run a 50-state campaign and go to states that Democratic candidates don't often visit in the primary. That starts today in Little Rock," Schechter said. After filing his paperwork, Bloomberg planned to have lunch with Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr.

Bloomberg's overture to Arkansan voters comes as most candidates have been flocking to New Hampshire ahead of the Friday deadline to file to appear on the primary ballot in that state. State Democratic Party officials in Iowa and New Hampshire have raised concerns about the possibility Bloomberg would skip the first four primaries altogether.

"We are certain that Granite Staters, Iowans and other early state voters are eager to ask Michael Bloomberg about his plans to move our states and our country forward. We hope that they will have that opportunity," the Iowa and New Hampshire Democratic Party chairs said in a joint statement last week, after Bloomberg filed to appear on the primary ballot in Alabama on Friday.

The first four primary states are traditionally considered critical because success in those states can catapult the top finishers into successful showings on Super Tuesday, March 3, when 14 states, American Samoa and Democrats Abroad will cast their ballots. Those states include Alabama and Arkansas, as well as Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.

More than 1,300 delegates will be up for grabs on Super Tuesday, which is about 40% of the total delegates allocated. The Democratic presidential nominee ultimately needs to win a majority of 3,979 delegates. By comparison, only 155 delegates are awarded by the first four primary states.

Several candidates have welcomed Bloomberg's potential entry into the race with derision. In tweets Thursday, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders responded to Bloomberg's interest in the race.

"The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared," Sanders wrote.

"Welcome to the race, @MikeBloomberg! If you're looking for policy plans that will make a huge difference for working people and which are very popular, start here," Warren wrote, linking to a tax "calculator for the billionaires" on her website. 

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