KEY POINTS

  • Bloomberg campaign manager said have "very damaging" information on Sanders
  • Sanders has repeatedly attacked Bloomberg for using his wealth to campaign
  • Bloomberg and Sanders will face off for the first time at the Nevada debate

As the Democratic primary race continues to heat up, billionaire Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have not shied away from sharing barbs. With Bloomberg now polling third nationally, he is putting the front runner, Sanders, in his cross hairs.

Kevin Sheekey, the head of Bloomberg’s campaign, claimed Tuesday morning that opposition research conducted on Sanders had turned up “very damaging, perhaps even disqualifying” information, though he stopped short of sharing the findings.

This week Sanders blasted the former New York City mayor, accusing him of using his personal fortune to “buy the presidency.” So far, Bloomberg has spent more than $300 million in his massive advertising blitz, which has included a Super Bowl ad spot and paying online influencers to boost his image.

Sheekey fired back by issuing a statement accusing Sanders of using “the very same attacks and tactics” Trump uses; this came alongside a new Bloomberg ad aimed at linking Sanders to his apparent supporters’ online attacks against the senator’s campaign opponents.

In response to the comparisons to Trump, Sanders simply tweeted a photo showing Bloomberg and Trump golfing together.

Sarah Ford, Sanders’ campaign deputy director of communications, told The Hill that Bloomberg’s campaign is among “our opponents in the establishment [who] would like to perpetuate a false myth” about Sanders’ supporters. She added that the senator continues to condemn online abuse and harassment from people identifying as Sanders supporters.

Both men are set to take the debate state in Nevada on Wednesday. For Bloomberg, it will be his first time facing his opponents in the race for the Democratic nomination, thanks to the Democratic National Committee’s recently revised debate qualifications.

Since entering the race, Bloomberg has been continually criticized by Sanders for attempting to buy the presidency. More recently, however, the former mayor has faced a great deal of heat as controversial behavior and statements made in the past continue to surface. Over the weekend it was revealed that Bloomberg’s former employees had once compiled his various off color remarks in a book; he was quoted making various misogynistic and crude remarks about women.

Bloomberg has also come under fire over resurfaced recordings of him defending the use of the controversial “stop and frisk” policing practice while mayor as well as warning against raising taxes on the wealthy.

These controversies will undoubtedly serve as fodder for his rivals during the primary debate, who will finally have their first opportunity to challenge Bloomberg directly on Wednesday.

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's possible entry into the presidential race could pose challenges for his company which includes one of the world's largest news organizations Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's possible entry into the presidential race could pose challenges for his company which includes one of the world's largest news organizations Photo: GETTY IMAGES / Bryan Bedder