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Democratic presidential candidate, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaks to campaign workers and supporters in Minneapolis, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, as he opens the first field office in Minnesota and meets with local community leaders and voters to share his vision for the country. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

2020

Mike Bloomberg launches pro-black business ad campaign

The video comes after damaging audio related to Bloomberg’s controversial stop and frisk program.

Mike Bloomberg is rolling out a new television ad highlighting his work with black-owned businesses.

The ad, entitled “Cheryl,” features construction firm owner Cheryl McKissack. McKissack highlights how her fifth generation family business had difficulties getting contracts the company needed to thrive and how Bloomberg, as Mayor of New York City, leveled the playing field for businesses like hers.

The ad comes just days after audio surfaced of Bloomberg discussing, and defending, his controversial “stop and frisk” program in New York City that allowed police officers to detain and pat down anyone they thought might pose a risk. The policy disproportionately affected minority communities.

In the audio, Bloomberg can be heard saying the only way to keep guns out of the hands of minority youth is “to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.”

Since then, Bloomberg and his campaign have rallied a network of African American surrogates and community leaders in a demonstration of his support from the community.

The new 30-second television spot is running on network, cable and local markets in 26 states, including Florida.

McKissack is the president and CEO of McKissack and McKissack based in New York and Philadelphia. It’s the nation’s oldest black-owned design and construction firm, according to the ad.

“Over the years we have heard a lot of talk” McKissack says in the ad. “But, Mike came in and actually did something about it. That’s how Mike will get it done as president.”

Bloomberg’s Greenwood Initiative aims to boost black-owned businesses by setting up user-friendly, one-stop shops for entrepreneurs across the nation, while expanding mentorships and incubators, increasing access to capital, supporting black-owned banks and expanding procurement from black-owned businesses, his campaign said.

While other Democratic presidential candidates have been focusing their campaigns on early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, Bloomberg has opted to ignore those lower-delegate states and focus instead on more populous states like Florida.

Here, Bloomberg has already opened several campaign offices including ones in South Florida, St. Petersburg and Orlando with a Tampa office in the works.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg picked up an endorsement from House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee, a prominent black lawmaker.

Not counting the latest advertising push, Bloomberg had already spent at least $11 million on television ads in the state’s largest media markets including Tampa Bay, Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami-Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

 

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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