Bloomberg and the Presidency

Speculation has been rampant about New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his plans on the presidency, sparked by his revamped website, mikebloomberg.com, and recent reporting.

Bloomberg has said he will run if he can influence the national debate. With a personal fortune estimated between $7 billion and $13 billion, Bloomberg has set aside a hefty $1 billion as his budget. His team is studying Ross Perot’s campaign strategy and Bloomberg is meeting with Perot’s senior advisers.

Charlie Cook of the National Journal discusses a Bloomberg candidacy, calling him a “shrewd problem solver” and a mayor with an impressive record. Cook also talks about the intriguing possibility of the election being thrown to the House if no candidate receives a majority of the electoral votes. If Bloomberg were to enter the race, he has a shot at winning New York. Then if Bloomberg wins New York, the Democratic candidate wins Ohio, and all other states stay the same as in 2004, the election would be left up to the House.

Bloomberg has said he would enter the race with the sole goal of winning and not as being a Perot-esque spoiler. Republicans are dissatisfied with their candidates, an obvious plus for a Bloomberg candidacy. Democrats are generally satisfied with their field and would likely unite behind their nominee, even if with some reserves, in order to recapture the White House.  Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, can boast of high favorables within her party: 83% among Democrats and 70% among Democratic-leaning independents.   However, Bloomberg is appealing to independents and could obtain much of his support from them.  On his new website, the words “nonpartisan” and “bipartisan” appear rather frequently.

With his monetary advantages and as an independent candidate, Bloomberg can delay an entry into the race until early ’08.   On a side note, it would be interesting if the election came down to a matchup among a New York troika: Bloomberg, Clinton, and Giuliani.

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