Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg entered the U.S. Presidential campaign on Friday, sending waves through a crowded political marketplace. 

“I am running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America,” Bloomberg tweeted on Nov. 24. “I believe my unique set of experiences in business, government and philanthropy will enable me to win and lead.”

Bloomberg, 77, won the New York Mayor’s campaign in 2002, following Rudy Giuiliani into office to lead a city devastated by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He is co-founder of Bloomberg, L.P., a company with its own Manhattan tower specializing in finance, data, software and media. 

Bloomberg is an uber wealthy global citizen with a net worth of more than $55 billion. That wealth has already come under attack by one of the leading contenders for the Democratic party nomination.

“I’m disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy elections,” tweeted U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Nov. 22. “If you can’t build grassroots support for your candidacy, you have no business running for president.”

Sanders, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden have qualified for the party’s next round of debates, Dec. 19, in Los Angeles.  

Meanwhile, Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam suspended his campaign last week, but vowed to “be a factor to mobilize our state for the Democratic Party nominee.”

Messam’s exit from the stage leaves 17 major Democrats competing for the nomination.

At last week’s debates in Atlanta, Buttigieg and U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii had a tense exchange over national security and foreign policy. Gabbard accused Buttigieg of making a “careless statement” in regards to sending American troops to Mexico to fight drug cartels. 

Buttigieg, the 37-year-old gay married Afghanistan war veteran, countered that Gabbard had poor judgment, citing her meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

“I have, in my experience, such as it is -- whether you think it counts or not since it wasn’t accumulated in Washington -- enough judgment that I would have not sat down with a murderous dictator like that,” Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg said his remarks about Mexico pertained to alliance building and security cooperation.

LGBT Notes: WHW interviewed in-coming SAVE Dade Executive Director Orlando Gonzales after the Miami Beach elections. Gonzales said his LGBT service organization was “very excited” with last week’s results. He noted Miami Beach now has two openly gay commissioners: (Michael Góngora and David Richardson) on the city’s dais. Gonzales went on to say Miami Beach has high scores on the Human Rights Campaign Equality Index. SAVE, Gonzales said, has a large swath of volunteers it calls upon for field work and door knocking during campaigns. Gonzales relocated from Washington, D.C. this year to replace Tony Lima as Executive Director at SAVE (Safeguarding American Values for Everyone), established in 1993. Gonzales said SAVE has not endorsed a presidential candidate.