Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg may have suspended his own presidential campaign last week and endorsed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, but the media mogul is continuing to put millions into efforts to court black voters in crucial swing states.
The billionaire donated $2 million to Collective Future, a black-led political action committee, in an effort to register 500,000 black voters across the South and the Midwest.
The group is focusing not just on the presidential race but also on down-ballot contests in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.
“Voter suppression efforts across the country have been a barely disguised effort to keep Black Americans and other Democratic-leaning voters from the polls. I’ve always believed we need to make it easier for all citizens to register and vote, not harder,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a press release announcing his donation Monday.
“That’s why I strongly support Collective Future in their effort to register 500,000 Black Americans. These new voters could determine the November election — and the future of the country. The stakes couldn’t be higher. So while our campaign for the presidency is over, our work to get America back on track is still growing,” he added.
Mr. Bloomberg initially enjoyed a bounce in the polls from black voters, but then support on the campaign trail dwindled when audio surfaced of him touting stop-and-frisk policies while he was mayor, praising a crime-prevention program that largely targeted minority neighborhoods.
The crucial black voting bloc helped propel Mr. Biden, the vice president to President Obama, back to front-runner status after he successfully courted them in South Carolina and then across the South on Super Tuesday.
The PAC will engage the voting bloc through black churches and historically black colleges and universities.
“It is not an exaggeration to suggest the 2020 election cycle will be one of the most consequential in American history. The last presidential election was decided by less than 80,000 votes and there are currently over 5 million unregistered Black Americans in our eight target states,” said Quentin James, president of The Collective.
Black voter turnout fell in 2016 for the first time in 20 years, according to Pew Research Center. It had reached a record high in 2012.
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