Bloomberg Donating Campaign Assets To Democratic Party For Swing State Fights

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg (image via campaign)

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has announced he will donate assets from his now-defunct presidential campaign – including $18 million in cash – to the Democratic Party.

The assets will be used to organize voters in general election swing states.

From the Washington Post:

The decision, which exploits a provision in campaign finance law available only to federal candidates, amounts to a shift in strategy for the billionaire political activist, who had previously promised to personally fund ground staff and offices in six states through an independent expenditure effort.

He now hopes that much of the same operation will be run through the state and national Democratic Party, which would allow for it to directly coordinate with the Democratic nominee, who he expects to be former vice president Joe BidenAn independent expenditure campaign is barred from such coordination.

Under normal circumstances, federal rules allow individuals to give a maximum of $355,000 per year to the Democratic National Committee. The party has set up a Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee with state parties, that allows wealthy individuals to give $865,000 in one year. Bloomberg has already donated the maximum allowed to this account.

But the new shift of resources means he is able to give more than 20 times the maximum a donor can give to the national party in one year, because of provisions that allow federal candidates to donate unlimited amounts of leftover money to national and state parties as they wind down their campaigns.

News Round-Up: March 9, 2020

L-R Michael Caprio, Barry Manilow, me

Some news items you might have missed:

Las Vegas: Hubby Michael and I were invited to an industry night at the Westgate Hotel here in Las Vegas where pop music legend Barry Manilow is still thrilling audiences. In a fast-paced 90 minute show, Barry belts out hit after hit, inspiring standing ovation after standing ovation. If you’re heading to Sin City, I highly recommend you check out this truly authentic star who continues to knock it out of the park.

NY Times: A year after the “London Patient” was introduced to the world as only the second person to be cured of H.I.V., he is stepping out of the shadows to reveal his identity: He is Adam Castillejo. “This is a unique position to be in, a unique and very humbling position,” he said. “I want to be an ambassador of hope.”

CTV News: Legislation has been introduced in Canada that would make it illegal to cause a minor to undergo conversion therapy; to remove a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy in another country; cause a person to undergo conversion therapy against their will; profit from providing conversion therapy; or advertise an offer to provide conversion therapy.

Spokesman-Review: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law a bill that prohibits defendants from using a “panic defense” in court to justify violence against a member of the LGBTQ community. Washington is now the 10th state to ban so-called “gay panic” or “trans panic” defenses.

The Hill: Former 2020 Democratic contender Michael Bloomberg gave $2 million to a nonprofit working to Collective Future, a nonprofit working to registering black voters ahead of November’s general election. The group is working to register 500,000 black voters in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Passing: Openly gay playwright Mart Crowley, author of the groundbreaking play The Boys in the Band, about a group of gay and bi friends in New York City, has died at age 84.

The play, a hit off-Broadway in 1968, went on to become a feature film directed by William Friedkin in 1970. Crowley finally received a Tony Award for his opus when an all-star cast brought the play to Broadway in 2018. Hollywood super-producer Ryan Murphy is now bringing that production to Netflix in the foreseeable future. RIP Mart Crowley.

News Round-Up: March 5, 2020

The West End cast of City of Angels

Some news items you might have missed:

West End Theater: The Donmar Warehouse’s Olivier Award-winning production of the Broadway musical City of Angels (starring my college bestie Vanessa Williams above) hits the boards on the West End for its first preview tonight. Word in theater circles is the show is stylish, smart, and stunning.

Greenville Journal: A county in South Carolina was about to repeal a 1996 anti-LGBTQ resolution when religious dissenters, citing “traditional family values,” overwhelmed the County Council meeting just before the vote causing two council members to change their votes.

The Hill: Vice President Pence, who is heading up the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus threat told reporters today the United States does not currently have enough tests to meet the expected demand.

Washington Blade: Chris Johnson is one of my favorite LGBTQ reporters and he’s penned an excellent assessment of the historic candidacy of Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “He made a mark on American politics — and not just because he broke barriers as a gay presidential candidate.”

Washington Post: Now that Mike Bloomberg has exited the race for the White House, he has announced he plans to form an independent expenditure campaign that will absorb hundreds of his presidential campaign staffers in six swing states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina) to work to elect the Democratic nominee this fall.

Out Music: Maia, who records under the moniker mxmtoon, released her exuberant single and music video, “fever dream,” where she dances with her past and future self. 

“We wanted to work with the themes of the single to make a video that exemplifies the nostalgia the lyrics evoke but also the courage to move forward,” shares the out bisexual artist.

With a blissfully nostalgic lilt, mxmtoon’s vocals are soothing and sure. The sentimental, upbeat melody is a refreshing escape from the clutter of today’s current news cycle.

Her 2018 debut EP plum blossom – recorded in her parent’s guest bedroom – has garnered more than 100 million streams on Spotify. You can follow her on Instagram here.

Super Tuesday Round-Up: Biden’s Big Night

L-R Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders

It was quite the night for former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign roared through Super Tuesday.

Biden handily won throughout the South (Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia), scored a big come-from-behind win in Texas, and scored surprise victories in Minnesota and Massachusetts.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) claimed victory in his home state of Vermont, as well as Utah, Colorado and, most probably the delegate-rich state of California.

At this time, Maine and California haven’t been officially called yet although the NY Times estimates Biden to pick up Maine and Sanders to come out on top in California.

As I reported earlier, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg spent nearly half a billion dollars in ads across the Super Tuesday primaries and only won in American Samoa. He dropped out of the race this morning and endorsed Biden.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), briefly the front-runner last fall, didn’t win a single state.

(graphic via NY Times)

According to an NBC News exit poll, LGBTQ voters “made up a disproportionately high 9 percent of the electorate in the Super Tuesday contests.”

The survey also showed that 42 percent of those LGBTQ voters cast their ballot for Sanders, and 22 percent supported Warren. Biden garnered 19 percent of the LGBTQ vote, and Bloomberg picked up 6 percent. Even though former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race on Sunday night, he still received 6 percent of the queer vote due to early voting in several states.

Scrolling through Twitter last night, the Sanders supporters were clearly angry at the results characterizing the night as being ‘taken away’ from their guy. Axios‘ Alexi McCammond reported hearing “sneers and anger about ‘the establishment'” at the Sanders rally in Vermont.

Next up are the contests in Michigan, Washington State, Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho, and North Dakota on March 10.

This is the current delegate count as of this morning according to the New York Times. This will change over the next few days as several states don’t have all their ballots in. For instance, in California mail-in ballots only had to be postmarked by March 3. So, they won’t be counted for a couple of days.

(via NY Times)

Bloomberg Drops Out After Disastrous Super Tuesday

Mike Bloomberg (screen capture)

From Axios:

Michael Bloomberg, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to self-fund his 2020 presidential run, announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign after a poor performance on Super Tuesday and will endorse Joe Biden.

What he’s saying: “I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

“I’ve known Joe for a very long time. I know his decency, his honesty, and his commitment to the issues that are so important to our country – including gun safety, health care, climate change, and good jobs.”

American Samoa was Bloomberg’s only win of the night.

News Round-Up: February 27, 2020

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Handsome Ignacio Pérez Rey (above) sums up France: “Nice is NICE!” Follow the world traveler on Instagram here.

LGBTQ Nation: A trans woman was shot at a gas station by a man shouting anti-trans epithets. But a judge ignored state law and ruled that it wasn’t a hate crime.

KWWL: The Iowa Democratic Party announced the results of the limited-scope recount requests from the Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders campaigns. The recount process resulted in no change to the National Delegate allocation. Pete Buttigieg has 14 national delegates, Sanders has 12. As a result of the recount, county-level delegate allocation changed in 19 precincts.

Out Music: Check out the new music video “Revival” from Broadway actor/singer Juwan Crawley (Aladdin). As a gay black man, Juwan started writing music as a response to the epidemic of police brutality towards and killings of innocent black Americans and has since used it as a platform for the values he holds dear. He continues to write music to express that which tethers us together: self-love, spirituality… and just f*cking fun.

Gaily Grind: A disturbing cell phone video has been making the rounds on social media showing a Texas high school student viciously beating a transgender classmate.

Pew Research: About two-thirds of Americans (66%) feel worn out by the amount of news there is, while far fewer (32%) say they like the amount of news they are getting, according to a survey of more than 12,000 U.S. adults conducted in October and November of last year.

MSNBC: Democratic White House hopeful Mike Bloomberg tells Kasie Hunt in a new interview airing tomorrow morning on Morning Joe he intends to stay in the race “right to the bitter end.”

Bloomberg Apologizes For Transphobic Remarks

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg (image via campaign)

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg issued an apology today after video clips of Bloomberg making transphobic remarks had come to light.

One of the clips showed Bloomberg referring to transgender people as “he, she, or it” and “some guy in a dress” who could enter girls’ locker rooms at a forum at the Bermuda Business Development Agency in March of 2019.

Another video showed the former mayor speaking at Oxford in 2016 describing transgender people as “some man wearing a dress.” The remarks were in reference to why he believed people in the Midwest would not push for greater rights for transgender individuals.

Today, Bloomberg said in a statement (via The Advocate):

“Today, I spoke with leaders from the transgender community and have heard from elected officials like Mayor London Breed, and I understand that my words had caused hurt,” he said. (Breed, the mayor of San Francisco, is a cisgender woman but has a large trans constituency.)

“It was a poor attempt to describe how some who oppose transgender equality think about this issue — and those words do not reflect my unwavering support for equality for transgender Americans,” he continued. “I want to offer my sincerest apologies to the members of the transgender community.

“Given the ongoing violence that the trans community faces, including the recent killing of Alexa Ruiz in Puerto Rico, we need a president who will set the moral compass to ensure safety, respect and dignity for all trans people. As mayor, I signed a sweeping transgender civil rights bill and, as president, will promote policies that advance equality for transgender Americans who have been attacked by the Trump administration over the past three years.”

Since entering the race for the Democratic nomination for president, Bloomberg has yet to appear on a ballot in a Democratic primary or caucus. He will also not be on the ballot in the South Carolina primary Saturday,

Bloomberg has focused his efforts and considerable cash on ballots next week on Super Tuesday, when voters in 14 states and one territory, along with Democrats living abroad, will vote in local primaries and caucuses.

He currently is ranking third nationally in the RealClearPolitics average of polls.

Thoughts On Democratic Debate In Las Vegas

I’m late getting to this but I wanted to put out a few thoughts about last night’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas.

First, welcome to the debate stage billionaire and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. After spending nearly half a billion on campaign ads, he finally got on the debate stage and had to face some heat.

And boy did he.

Within seconds of the beginning of the date, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (who really, really needed a good night) ripped Bloomberg a new one.

“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said. “And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”

Warren followed that up later when the issue of women who had sued Bloomberg were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements. Warren was unrelenting.

Needless to say, Warren had that ‘good night’ she was shooting for. Over the next 24 hours, she reportedly raised over $5 million for her campaign.

Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg landed some blows on both Bloomberg and Sen. Bernie Sanders for their ‘polarizing’ personas as well as not really being Democrats.

The other ‘big’ clashes of the evening were between Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Buttigieg. When Klobuchar was asked about a recent ‘oopsie’ in an interview when she couldn’t name the president of Mexico, Buttigieg pointed out she sits on important Senate committees that deal with Mexico. And, then Klobuchar started to unravel.

I’ll admit I was surprised to see Amy get so rattled, so unnerved. In the video below, her body language and voice really hyper-up as Buttigieg remains calm. At one point, Amy offered a snarky, “I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete.”

At another turn, she informed him that he hasn’t ‘been in the arena,’ apparently inferring the work mayors do isn’t important.

In reading other outlets today, I came to realize Klobuchar has a particular distaste for Buttigieg. She sees the attention he’s received and his rise in the polls as unfounded, and the result of white, male privilege.

I actually have my own idea as to why Buttigieg garnered the attention he did from the start of the race.

He was the new unknown. An openly gay, Rhodes scholar, Afghanistan veteran unknown who not only is well-spoken but speaks seven languages. He was a new story for folks to lean in to.

Buttigieg turned in good debate performances. And did well in Iowa and New Hampshire.

In any case, I think Klobuchar didn’t handle the moment well last night. She could have chosen to take a breath before responding. But, instead, she went on a rant that looked frantic. As an alternative, she could have just stated, in regard to the name of the Mexican president, “I was tired and the name slipped my mind. It happens to everyone.” And then, STOPPED TALKING. She would have served herself better, in my opinion.

Along the way, as no one was attacking former Vice President Joe Biden, he had one of his best debates of the primary season. It may help him do fairly well in Nevada and then next week in South Carolina. If Biden comes in second in Nevada, then wins South Carolina, he may recover some of his momentum.

Sanders entered the debate as the newly-anointed front-runner for the nomination and nothing in the debate changed that.

It’s worth noting that NBC News sent out a press release announcing the event was the most-watched Democratic debate ever, averaging nearly 20 million total viewers across the two networks, according to Nielsen Fast National Data.

The one take-away I have from last night that I think is important is about ‘big-picture.’

There are four moderate Democrats currently competing for the same moderate Democratic voters. And as such, they are getting only about 12-15 percent support each.

Meanwhile, Warren kind of faded after her poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire leaving the progressive lane to just Sanders. Thus, his rise in the polls.

Each state’s contests divide up delegates proportionately according to the votes received. BUT – delegates are proportionately allocated to candidates getting 15% or more in a primary or caucus.

If you don’t get to at least 15% you get nothing. If only one candidate gets 15%, the allocation is effectively winner-take-all.

If no candidate meets the 15% threshold, Democratic Party rules state the minimum to receive delegates will be 50% of the vote received by the front-runner.

Check out the delegate count below after two states’ contests. Only five candidates have earned delegates to date. Buttigieg and Sanders have nearly 3x the number of Warren or Klobuchar.

According to reports, Klobuchar’s surprise third-place finish in New Hampshire was great news for her campaign, but she apparently hadn’t invested in any campaign infrastructure in Nevada having focused on Iowa and New Hampshire.

So, many don’t expect her to do well this week.

MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki looked at the polling in upcoming states and it looks pretty grim for many of the remaining candidates other than Bloomberg (who’s literally spending millions and millions), Biden, and Sanders.

Notice that Harris and Klobuchar aren’t even registering in double-digits. And Buttigieg seems stuck at the 11-12 percent level. That means no delegates from those states if these numbers are even in the ballpark.

Take a look at the California numbers. If Sanders walks away with 32% of the delegates, and Warren, Buttigieg, and Bloomberg fail to even be viable gaining zero delegates – Sanders begins to amass a delegate count that could be insurmountable.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg has been spending in other states like North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Arkansas – and it’s paying off for him. Now, after last night, we’ll have to see how those numbers stack up on Super Tuesday.

Finally, check this last graphic – Bloomberg is virtually the only Democrat with ads up in Virginia.

 

Needless to say, when you don’t win delegates, the campaign donations dry up. The next two weeks could very well boil this race down to two or three candidates.

We shall see.

Joe Biden ‘Welcomes’ Mike Bloomberg To Dem Debates

L-R Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg

Mike Bloomberg’s social media folks have made a bit of a name for themselves by throwing a sassy bit of shade here and there with a wink and a smile.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s team takes on a bit of that same flavor as Bloomberg joins the gang of Democratic hopefuls tonight at the NBC-hosted debate in Las Vegas.

Check out the new video from the Biden campaign below.

The debate will be broadcast live on NBC News, MSNBC and Universo (in Spanish) beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

News Round-Up: February 14, 2020

Chasten and Pete Buttigieg on the campaign trail

Some news items you might have missed:

Instagram: Pete Buttigieg, on the campaign trail, posts the above photo with hubby Chasten, with the caption “Happy Valentine’s Day to the one I love.” #swoon

Advocate: Two gay men were shot this week in a drive-by attack in Miami, leaving one in critical condition, and they believe it happened because they were kissing — and a lesbian nearby was also injured.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: A new poll released Thursday showed the former vice president Joe Biden with 32% of support in Georgia. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg were both at 14%. The poll pegs Pete Buttigieg at just 5% of Georgia’s vote and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 4%. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar trails at 3%. Georgia’s primary is on March 24.

Apple TV: Don’t forget the five-part docuseries Visible: Out on Television is now available on Apple’s streaming service. The series investigates the importance of TV as a medium that helped shaped the American conscience, and how the LGBTQ movement has shaped television.

Bloomberg Law: Michael Avenatti, who became famous representing porn star Stormy Daniels, was convicted of trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike Inc. and defrauding a client in the process. Jurors in Manhattan found Avenatti guilty of all three criminal counts. The verdict on Friday, following a two-week trial, could lead to a long prison sentence for the lawyer.

CBS News: Donald Trump says he’s considering ending the standard protocol of having top administration officials listen to his calls with foreign leaders, following his conversation with Ukraine’s president, a call that culminated in his impeachment.

KIT212: Kenneth rounds up the what’s what in gay rags this week including forever-hottie Robbie Williams covering this month’s Attitude Magazine (below).

Boston 25 News: Drug Enforcement Agency officials raided the home of Dr. Keith Ablow, the embattled former celebrity psychiatrist caught in a series of sexual assault lawsuits. The famously anti-LGBTQ Ablow saw his medical license revoked last year after he was accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual activity with several patients and illegally distributing prescriptions to employees.

Mediaite: Mike Bloomberg’s campaign openly mocked Donald Trump again over his comments on the coronavirus in which POTUS said, “Now the virus that we are talking about having to do, you know, lotta people think that goes away in April, with the heat,” by basically just splicing it with that famous Billy Madison “What you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things…” scene. #BloombergAintPlaying