Michael Bloomberg. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg officially filed paperwork on Friday to enter the 2020 presidential primary in Alabama, though remains undecided on whether he will ultimately run, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The billionaire and well-connected moderate could pose a "grave and instantaneous threat" to Joe Biden, who is struggling to fundraise and has faced questions about his sharpness, per the Times.

The big picture: Bloomberg has been a long-standing "maybe" in the crowded Democratic field. But filing is a notable step, as is dispatching staff to Alabama to gather signatures for him to qualify for the ballot.

  • Alabama does not have an early primary, but the deadline to file for its ballot is Friday.
  • According to Alabama Democratic Party, Bloomberg also qualified for the Alabama primary Friday afternoon, per the Time

What they're saying: Bloomberg Foundation aide and Democratic political strategist Howard Wolfson posted on Twitter: "Mike believes that Donald Trump represents an unprecedented threat to our nation. In 2016, he spoke out at the Democratic Convention, warning against a Trump presidency."

  • "If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist," Wolfson added.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.