Former New York mayor and current presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg opened six new offices in Virginia on Thursday.
The new offices are located in Arlington, Richmond, Roanoke, Hampton Roads, Charlottesville, and Danville.
Bloomberg was a latecomer to the 2020 presidential race that saw its first entrants register as early as 2017. Donald Trump registered for re-election on Jan. 20, 2017, the day he was inaugurated.
Bloomberg waited until Nov. 24, 2019, to dive into the crowded field. Because of his late entrance, Bloomberg missed the deadlines to appear on ballots in the earliest voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Instead of investing time in the early states, Bloomberg has opted to blitz the airwaves with hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising leading up to “Super Tuesday” — March 3, when 15 states will hold their primary elections.
Virginia is one of the 15 jurisdictions that will host its Democratic primary on March 3.
Bloomberg is investing heavily in the commonwealth, banking on its recent shift to the left end of the political spectrum when it wiped out Republican majorities in the House and Senate.
Until voters chose Barack Obama over John McCain in 2008, Virginia had not cast its electoral college votes for a Democrat since 1964 when 53% of voters opted for Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater.
According to a release sent out by his campaign, by the end of January Bloomberg had more staffers in Virginia than any other presidential candidate.
Virginia Democrats ran on gun-control as their headline issue — a staple of Bloomberg’s message throughout his political career. Bloomberg founded Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit group focused on gun control advocacy and research, in 2013.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Everytown has spent more than $6 million in Virginia since it was founded, including giving more than $1 million to Gov. Ralph Northam in 2017.
Gun control is a popular issue in Virginia with voters, according to a September 2019 Washington Post-Schar School poll that found that 91% of respondents said gun policy was important to them.