RICHMOND, VA — Democratic presidential contender Mike Bloomberg campaigned in Virginia on Saturday, roughly two weeks before the commonwealth’s voters head to the polls on Super Tuesday.
“I’ve been to Virginia more than anywhere else,” Bloomberg told a crowd of over 900 people at a craft brewery in Richmond.
Bloomberg invoked a number of issues facing Virginians and took an opportunity to hit President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE over his response to the white supremacist rally in 2017.
He also took time to address remarks that recently surfaced from 2015 that he made defending the controversial stop-and-frisk policy that existed in New York City while he was mayor.
“Virginia was also forced to grapple with its past when Terry was in office, and those events in Charlottesville, I think are some of the darkest chapters of our history,” Bloomberg said. “That is history is one of the reasons Americans felt so much pain when Donald Trump said they were very fine people among the Nazis and the Klan.”
“Across Virginia and across the country, Americans stood up and said we cannot accept that,” he added.
Bloomberg’s speech was interrupted two times by a heckler yelling “F— you, fascist!” before he was droned out with chants of “Mike, Mike, Mike.”
“The best thing to do is wait them out,” Bloomberg said.
The visit is Bloomberg’s sixth to Virginia, and the commonwealth was the first state he visited after announcing his run for president.
With 99 delegates up for grabs, Virginia will play an important role in March 3rd’s Super Tuesday primaries.
Super Tuesday will be Bloomberg’s first contest in the Democratic primaries.
“We absolutely need to win this commonwealth,” Bloomberg said at the event. “Virginia is still very up for grabs in 2020, we’re not waiting until the general election to organize.”
Bloomberg’s campaign has opened seven offices in Virginia, and has deployed over 80 staffers across the area.
Democrats are also looking to defend the state in 2020 after winning control of the General Assembly, which gave the party total control of the state’s government, a feat not achieved by the party since 1994.
Bloomberg’s visit comes as he continues to rise in the polls, billing himself as the most viable alternative to Trump.
The latest Real Clear Politics Average shows Bloomberg beating Trump by six points.
“We think he has the best chance of beating Trump, and that’s the biggest part of it,” Richmond voter Frank Munyan told The Hill. “He seems to be the grown up in the room.”
“Nothing against the other candidates,” he continued. “It’s a question of, I think in order to win in November, the candidate will have to activate not only Democrats, but also Independents and moderate Republicans.”
Bloomberg has fallen under scrutiny since rising in the polls, most recently for his for his past handling of the controversial stop-and-frisk policy.
He apologized on Saturday for his handling of the issue and pledged to take down systems that are “plagued by bias and discrimination.”
“I should have acted sooner, and I should have stopped it, and I didn’t, and I apologize that for that,” Bloomberg said.
“So tonight, let me make clear because they want to know, as president of the United States, I will work to dismantle systems that are plagued by bias and discrimination, I will invest in communities that have worn the brunt of these systems for generations,” he said. “I will put this work at the very top of my agenda.”
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