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Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg campaigns in San Diego

Posted at 6:26 PM, Jan 05, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- Democratic Presidential candidate and billionaire Mike Bloomberg made his first official campaign visit to San Diego Sunday. This comes just days after the most recent polls put him in a third-place-tie with Elizabeth Warren (11%), behind Joe Biden (28%) and Bernie Sanders (16%).

The former mayor of New York city is self-financing his entire campaign, which makes him ineligible to participate in the televised Democratic debates. Many say that makes it even more crucial for Bloomberg to make campaign trips and meet constituents in-person.

Fresh off the plane from New York, Mike Bloomberg toured San Diego-based, Veteran-owned engineering firm, Fuse Integration.

"This is a great city, and it's not just the weather. It's the people that make this place," Bloomberg began his speech.

He then thanked San Diego's strong military community and promised veterans a brighter future.

"We will focus on expanding the Small Business Administration's 'Boots to Business' program to connect veteran entrepreneurs to training and advisory services," Bloomberg said.

Former Navy pilot and Fuse CEO, Sumner Lee, championed Bloomberg's plans.

"He nailed it when talking about mentorship for veterans who are trying to start businesses, talking about breaking down the Red Tape, and making it easier for small businesses to get a foothold in the economy," Lee said.

In the afternoon, Bloomberg headed to San Diego City Council candidate Wendy Wheatcroft's home in Allied Gardens.

"Hosting a presidential candidate in my backyard today is just another example that we are living in crazy times," Wheatcroft joked. She is the former San Diego chapter president of Moms Demand Action, a gun safety advocacy group.

There, Bloomberg wasted no time taking jabs at President Donald Trump.

"I am running, make no mistake about it, to defeat Donald Trump," Bloomberg said. "We need less talk, we need less partisanship, we need less division, we need less tweeting."

Bloomberg pushed for stronger gun laws, a stance heavily criticized by the GOP.

"There is a federal law that in every gun store in America, they can't sell to people with criminal records, can't sell to people with mental problems, can't sell to people who are minors," Bloomberg said. "It's only going to shows and Internet sales, which didn't exist back when that first law was written. That's all we're asking. So nobody is taking away anything, other than we are making it safer even for gun owners not to get killed."

16-year-old Caroline Zdanowski is part of the group "Team Enough." She says she feels the threat of gun violence every day. But she hopes young advocates like her inspire adults to get out and vote.

"It really gets people thinking, like wow, 'Young people care about this issue, it's important to them, " Zdanowski said. "They can't vote, but I can be the voice for them.'"

Bloomberg did not take any questions from the media today. He followed his Southern California trip with the opening of his first California campaign office in Riverside.