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Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Image Credit: Reuters

Washington: Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, the centrist billionaire Democrat who positioned himself as a potential challenger to Donald Trump, said Tuesday he would not run for president in 2020.

“I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election. But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field,” the businessman said in an opinion column on the Bloomberg media platform that he owns.

“Many people have urged me to run. Some have told me that to win the Democratic nomination, I would need to change my views to match the polls,” he said, acknowledging the leftward tilt among many of the dozen major Democrats already in the race.

“I’ve run for office three times and won each time, in no small part because I’ve never stuck my finger in the wind to decide what I should believe. It’s not who I am, nor do I think it’s what voters want in a leader,” he added.

Bloomberg said he would instead devote his considerable financial muscle toward addressing some of the nation’s “major challenges,” including climate change, gun violence, the opioid crisis, failing public schools and college affordability.

Bloomberg’s statement bring an end to a potentially tantalizing 2020 matchup between two New York billionaire businessmen: the brash real estate tycoon currently in the White House versus the more measured — and wealthier — media mogul.

It is the third pass on the presidential race by a Democrat this week. Eric Holder, who served as US attorney general in Barack Obama’s administration, said no on Monday, followed by Senator Jeff Merkley, who announced Tuesday he would run for re-election to the Senate instead of launching a White House bid.