Michael R. Bloomberg is actively preparing to enter the Democratic presidential primary and is expected to file paperwork this week designating himself as a candidate in at least one state with an early filing deadline, people briefed on Mr. Bloomberg’s plans said.
Mr. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman, has been privately weighing a bid for the White House for weeks and has not yet made a final decision on whether to run, an adviser said. But in the first sign that he is seriously moving toward a campaign, Mr. Bloomberg has dispatched staffers to Alabama to gather signatures to qualify for the primary there. Though Alabama does not hold an early primary, it has a Friday deadline for candidates to formally enter the race.
Mr. Bloomberg and his advisers called a number of prominent Democrats on Thursday to tell them he was seriously considering the race, including former Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the retired majority leader who remains a dominant power broker in the early caucus state. Aides to Mr. Bloomberg also reached out to Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, the chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
Mr. Reid said in a brief interview that Mr. Bloomberg had not explicitly said he was running for president but that the implication of the call had been clear. “It wasn’t just to wish me a good weekend,” Mr. Reid said.
Mr. Bloomberg has prepared to enter presidential races before, in 2016 and then earlier this year, only to pull back in the end. Yet in those flirtations with the presidency, Mr. Bloomberg has never taken the step of filing to put his name on a state ballot.