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Politics
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Bloomberg Opens 2020 Campaign Office In Charlotte

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Bloomberg campaign North Carolina office
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Twitter

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is opening an office in Charlotte for his 2020 presidential campaign.

Bloomberg, a billionaire, entered the crowded race last month as a Democrat. He's one of the world's richest people, and he owns a media company. Bloomberg has only been a Democrat since last year; he started his mayoral career in New York in 2001 as a Republican and became an independent in 2007.

Bloomberg's campaign announced that his North Carolina team will be led by Charlotte City Council member James "Smuggie" Mitchell. The local team has about 20 people and has plans to expand.

North Carolina is one of five states Bloomberg's campaign is targeting for a $15 million-$20 million effort to register 500,000 voters from often underrepresented groups.

In a news release Sunday, the Bloomberg campaign says it plans to keep the Charlotte office open through the 2020 election – apparently regardless of whether he winds up the Democratic nominee.

“To defeat Donald Trump in November, the Democratic nominee needs to win pivotal swing states like North Carolina,” Bloomberg said in a news release.

North Carolina is a perennial "purple state," though its presidential votes have swung mostly Republican since 1980. Barack Obama, however, did win the state in 2008.

State Board of Elections records show 15 Democrats, 16 Libertarians, one Green Party candidate and two Constitution Party candidates filed as of Friday for North Carolina's March 3 presidential primary. So far, President Trump is unchallenged in the Republican primary here.

South Carolina's primary is sooner – on Feb. 29.

Saturday wasn't Bloomberg's first stop in Charlotte. Last year, he was in town to present a $2.5 million grant from his foundation to help the city's fight against climate change. 

The presidential election aside, North Carolina will be a closely watched state in 2020. Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, who's up for reelection next year, is considered vulnerable by Democrats hoping to flip the Senate. A new congressional map for 2020, meanwhile, means Republicans here are more likely to lose a few U.S. House seats. And Charlotte is the host city for the 2020 Republican National Convention.