Utah Democrats hope to get a boost from Bloomberg’s campaign

Michael Bloomberg 01

Utah Democrats are hoping some of Michael Bloomberg’s largesse makes its way to the Beehive State.

As part of his bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination, Bloomberg is donating money to boost state Democratic organizations in several states. Bloomberg is also planning on hiring hundreds of field workers in dozens of Super Tuesday states, which includes Utah.

Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jeffrey Merchant says he hasn’t heard anything directly from the former New York Mayor yet, but any financial assistance he might provide would be most welcome.

“It’s a great idea to build out state parties heading into a big election year,” said Merchant. “I don’t know if that’s something he’s interested in doing here, but he is investing heavily in a number of states.”

Marc La Vorgna, a spokesperson for Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, said they expect to have a competitive campaign in the state for the Super Tuesday primary.

“We will be competing aggressively in all Super Tuesday states, and putting substantial resources on the ground in Utah as the campaign moves ahead,” said La Vorgna in an email to UtahPolicy.com.

Several Democratic campaigns are already operating in Utah according to Merchant, but they are taking different approaches to campaigning. For example, Merchant says Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has at least one paid organizer here. Former Vice President Joe Biden is utilizing a group of 3 or 4 people to head up his efforts, but he’s not sure if there is any paid staff on the ground here. Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign also has a presence in Utah, but it’s mostly a volunteer effort according to Merchant.

While having a campaign presence in Utah is important, Merchant is hoping that the candidates come to Utah and hold campaign events.

“Most Utah Democrats are hungry to meet these candidates,” he says. “I anticipate a number of them will visit Utah before Super Tuesday.”

Elizabeth Warren held a standing-room-only campaign event in Salt Lake City in April. Former Vice President Joe Biden visited Utah for a fundraiser in September, but did not hold a public campaign event. 

Merchant is hoping that Democratic presidential candidates do more than fundraise when they come to Utah.

“I’ve made it clear they should come out and campaign. I understand the need to capture as much money as possible, but they have got to talk to voters, too,” he said.

There are 35 delegates from Utah up for grabs on Super Tuesday. That’s not a lot when you consider big states like Texas and California have hundreds of delegates on the line. But, if there are still four, five or more candidates left in the race after the first four nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, every delegate could be extremely valuable. 

Utah’s 35 delegates will be split among the state’s four congressional districts, with a handful being allocated statewide. According to Democratic Party rules, a candidate must get at least 15-percent of the vote in order to be in the running to be awarded delegates.