Houston is where Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg launched his Mike for Black America campaign and has been going strong to secure the Black vote.

“I am going to take the fight to Donald Trump all over America, including right here in Texas, because I believe this year we can turn Texas blue. And turning Texas blue starts with uniting Black, Brown, and white voters across the state,” Bloomberg said at his launch event at The Buffalo Soldier’s Museum. “Before I ask you to join me in this coalition to strengthen Black America and build a stronger country, I want to give you a better sense of who I am, what I believe, what I feel in my heart, and why this effort is so important to me.

The billionaire candidate is aggressively courting the Black voters critical to any Democrat’s chance of winning the nomination. The effort, backed by millions of dollars in ads, has taken him across Southern states that vote on March 3, including Texas.

His pitch is one of electability and competence — hoping to capitalize on Black Democrats’ hunger to oust President Donald Trump. But as he courts Black voters, he’ll also have to reconcile his own record as mayor of New York, where he pushed the controversial Stop and Frisk, which he has since apologized for.

“I’ve spent a lot of time speaking with Black leaders and community members and listening to their stories. I heard their pain, their confusion, and their anger, and I’ve learned from them, and I’ve grown from them,” he said. “Now I know I can’t change history. But what I can do is learn from my mistakes – and use those lessons to do right by Black and Brown communities who have suffered.”

Bloomberg’s outreach aims squarely at former Vice President Joe Biden, who is banking on loyal Black voters to resuscitate his bid after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire.

A new poll shows signs of success for Bloomberg, whose support has been hovering around 1 in 10 Democratic voters in most national polls. The Quinnipiac University poll, which was conducted after the Iowa caucuses but before New Hampshire’s primary, found Bloomberg with 15% support nationally, up from 8% in a late-January poll. That put him about even with Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and slightly ahead of Pete Buttigieg, who essentially tied with Sanders in last week’s Iowa caucuses. The poll showed Sanders leading, with 25% nationally.

Black mayors supporting Bloomberg
Despite his late entry and unorthodox campaign strategy, Mike Bloomberg has racked up more endorsements from mayors in the 100 largest U.S. cities than any other candidate. So far, the 77-year-old has won over the Democratic and Independent mayors of 11 of the nation’s most populous metros, including Houston’s own Sylvester Turner.

Some of the other mayors supporting Bloomberg:

Vi Lyles
Charlotte, NC
Malinda Miles
Mount Rainier, Maryland
William Bell
Birmingham, Alabama
Michael Tubbs
Stockton, California
Muriel Bowser
Washington, D.C.
London Breed
San Francisco