Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks during his presidential campaign in Austin, Texas, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. Credit: Lola Gomez | AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg will campaign in Portland and Scarborough on Monday as the billionaire opens a Maine campaign office in his late-breaking and self-funded bid to rise up the uncertain Democratic presidential primary field.

Bloomberg, a former Republican, only began his run in November and has surged to a fourth place position in national polls aggregated by RealClearPolitics behind an unprecedented quarter-billion dollars in advertising across the country, though he is skipping races in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

The media executive has quickly built a massive organization in more than 30 other states, according to NBC News, and hired Crystal Canney, a former Maine TV reporter and spokeswoman for former Govs. Angus King and John Baldacci, as his Maine state director.

Bloomberg is perhaps most familiar to Mainers because of a 2016 referendum rejected by voters that would have expanded background checks to private gun sales and transfers. He founded Everytown for Gun Safety, which ran the bid and funded proponents to the tune of $6 million, and the former mayor’s name was often invoked by gun-rights groups that defeated it.

He will be the first candidate to campaign in Maine — which is often overlooked by presidential primary campaigns in favor of states that are bigger or vote earlier — since a flurry of activity in August and September that brought Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, who was then the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to rallies at the State Theatre in Portland.

Bloomberg will open a campaign office in Scarborough on Monday after having coffee with local leaders in Portland, according to a news release from his campaign. He was among 12 Democratic candidates who qualified for the Maine primary on March 3, with no Republicans qualifying to run against President Donald Trump on that day.

There have been no public polls of the Maine race since October. One survey then from Public Policy Polling showed Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren with a lead and another from the Maine People’s Resource Center had former Vice President Joe Biden ahead. Sanders, who easily won the Maine caucuses in 2016, has gained ground in national polls since then.

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...