A modest office on Lansing’s north side was plastered with Mike Bloomberg signs Tuesday, as his campaign opened another office in Michigan. Staffers touted the presidential hopeful's political experience, highlighting his 12-year tenure as Mayor of New York City to a room of supporters.
Bloomberg’s State Campaign Director, Michael Kurt, said that the capitol city office is the 9th office in the state, with plans for a final office in Saginaw. He added that the campaign’s ranks have grown to nearly 100 staff members, making Bloomberg the candidate with the largest political footprint in-state.
The opening came the same day as results from the most recent NPR/PBSNewshour/Marist poll which showed Bloomberg qualifies for his first democratic primary debate, set to take place Wednesday night in Las Vegas ahead of the caucus Saturday. The former New York City mayor is polling in second place at 19% behind Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at 31%.
Among his supporters was former Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, who cited Bloomberg’s skills with what he called, "nitty gritty city issues."
“When you’re at the city level, you’re where the people are. You know, you’re at that ground floor. And, so it's a little messier than if you’re in congress, just pushing buttons. That’s why people have asked me ‘is it a mayor thing?’ Well it is a mayor thing, because I know what it is to be a mayor," said Bernero.
Bloomberg critics have pointed to his wealth and self-funding of his campaign, arguing the billionaire is buying his way to the democratic nomination. In Michigan alone, he’s shattered records spending more than $9 million dollars on TV ads with plans to spend more in the coming months.
But, Bernero says that the spending doesn't concern him at all.
“Look, I’ve found in life [that] money is helpful and I'm sure it's been helpful to Mike Bloomberg's candidacy. I don't resent a bit the fact that he chooses to spend his money for the betterment of this country. I don’t resent it; in fact, I appreciate it," said Bernero.
Bloomberg will face off against other qualifying candidates in the Nevada Democratic debate ahead of the state’s caucus this weekend.