SAN ANTONIO – Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg rolled out a new phase of his campaign for the Democratic nomination right here in the Alamo city.
Shortly before kicking off a bus tour of Texas Saturday morning, he greeted supporters, curious voters and a few detractors at the Viva Villa restaurant at downtown’s Market Square.
“We are here to win this election and I am running to defeat Donald Trump,” Bloomberg told the cheering crowd. “We're going to finally turn Texas blue.”
The former New York mayor pointed to his history in the Big Apple as an example of how he would perform as President.
Bloomberg laid out his position on several hot button issues, including immigration, health care and additional background checks for guns.
“When the law was written, the internet and gun shows didn't exist, and so the (current) law doesn't apply to them. That's the only thing that we need changed,” he said.
WATCH: Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s full speech
Gathered across the street, however, was a group that wasn’t so convinced.
About a dozen people dressed in T-shirts and hats showing support for President Donald Trump shouted chants regarding what they see as Bloomberg’s desire to overturn the Second Amendment and seize their guns.
Nathan Ratner, who supports Bloomberg, disagrees.
“I believe in what he's for in terms of more gun background checks,” he said. “I'm glad he came. It's important for him to appeal to all of us in Texas.”
Bloomberg said the purpose of the bus tour is to take his message directly to Texas voters.
Yolanda Sutter wanted to hear what he had to say.
She said she is looking for a candidate to unite the country.
“We cannot be divided. We all are the same. We need to join,” she said.
This visit marked Bloomberg’s third trip to Texas since he announced his candidacy.
He also planned to visit Austin and Dallas Saturday, and said if all goes as he hopes, it won’t be his last trip to the Lone Star State.
San Antonio also was a campaign stop last month for former Vice President Joe Biden, one of Bloomberg’s opponents in the primary election.
The others still in the race include Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer, among a few others.
Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro dropped out last week.
The primary election day in Texas will be March 3. Early voting starts Feb. 18.
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