On the morning of Super Tuesday, Penn Democrats announced in an official statement that the club will not endorse Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg.
The anti-endorsement comes just days after the club co-hosted a Bloomberg campaign event at Woody's, an LGBTQ bar and dance club in Philadelphia. After a disappointing showing in Tuesday's primary elections, Bloomberg dropped out and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday.
In the statement posted on Twitter, Penn Dems cited the former New York City mayor's stop-and-frisk policies, which have been criticized for disproportionately targeting young Black and Hispanic men, as one of the reasons they will not endorse him.
Penn Dems also said the allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination by women employed at Bloomberg L.P. were disqualifying. The millions of dollars Bloomberg has contributed to Republican candidates, including an $11.7 million donation for Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), was another reason for the club's anti-endorsement.
“The values that Bloomberg represent conflict with those of our club, and his nomination would represent a step backward for our party and for our country,” the statement read.
Penn Dems President and College junior Owen Voutsinas-Klose and Communications Director and College first-year Emma Wennberg declined to comment further to The Daily Pennsylvanian.
Last Friday, Penn Dems co-hosted an event with the Bloomberg campaign that featured a discussion with fashion designer and Bloomberg supporter Isaac Mizrahi. At the time of the event, Voutsinas-Klose told the DP that Penn Dems remains neutral and is open to hearing from all candidates.
According to Voutsinas-Klose, Penn Dems is planning to release a presidential endorsement in April, though it is possible the group will not end up endorsing a single candidate. Two weeks ago, the group released their first round of Congressional endorsements for the Pennsylvania Democratic primary on April 28.
Penn Dems member and Engineering first-year Rowan Bortz said she is glad the club denounced Bloomberg, especially because she supports Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
"I definitely don't think there's a lot of support for Bloomberg among Penn Dems," Bortz said. "Most of the people I'm close with in [Penn Dems] are Bernie fans, some [support] Biden, some Warren — I have actually never talked to anyone about being a Bloomberg fan."
Despite her support for Sanders, Bortz believes it is important that the club hosts events about various Democrats, even if Penn Dems members do not endorse or completely agree with their policies.
"The whole reason why [Penn Dems] had this Bloomberg event, why they had a Steyer event, why they had a Klobuchar event, isn't because they're candidates that are most beloved by the majority of the club," she said. "It's because they're trying to expose their members to a variety of different candidates, a variety of different perspectives, embrace different views — and then in the end, someone gets endorsed."
Despite their criticism of Bloomberg, Penn Dems stressed in their statement the variety of Democrats they have given a platform to in the past, including former Democratic presidential candidates Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang, and John Delaney.
"One of our main goals is to educate our members about candidates across the party, so they can make an informed decision as they cast their primary vote," Penn Dems' statement read.
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