New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is seriously moving toward a decision to run for president as an independent in 2008 — and his aides are already laying the groundwork for a Bloomberg campaign.
Next weekend Bloomberg will join Democratic and Republican statesmen at the University of Oklahoma in an effort to push major party candidates into renouncing partisan gridlock.
Former Sen. David Boren of Oklahoma, one of the organizers of the gathering, told the New York Times that if major party candidates did not formally embrace bipartisanship within two months, “I would be among those who would urge Mr. Bloomberg to very seriously consider running for president as an independent.”
Another scheduled attendee at the Oklahoma meeting, Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, has said he would consider being Bloomberg’s running mate on an independent ticket.
As Newsmax has reported, several Bloomberg advisers have been quietly feeling out potential campaign consultants regarding their availability should the mayor decide to run.
Patrick Brennan, political director of Bloomberg’s 2005 re-election campaign, has resigned his position as commissioner of the city’s Community Assistance Unit to spend more time exploring Bloomberg’s possible national campaign, according to the Times.
Bloomberg has consistently insisted that he has no plans to run for the White House. But in private talks with friends and associates, he has suggested he would give serious thought to a run if the opposing major party candidates are poles apart — for example, if Mike Huckabee is the GOP candidate and is opposed by Barack Obama or John Edwards.
In that case, Bloomberg might decide “those candidates are vulnerable to a challenge from a pragmatic, progressive centrist, which is how he would promote himself,” the Times observes.
The process for launching an independent campaign formally begins on March 5, when third-party candidates can begin circulating nominating petitions in Texas. Both major parties may have settled on their candidates by then. The deadline for filing the petitions is May 12.
Aides have said that Bloomberg, a multi-billionaire, could invest as much as $1 billion of his own money in a White House campaign, which would mean he would “not have to spend a lot of time raising money and he would not have to make deals with special interest groups to raise money,” Boren said.
Political insiders say two things are certain regarding Bloomberg and the presidency — he will not resign his post as mayor to run, and he will not enter the campaign unless he believes he can win.
“Normally I don’t think an independent candidacy would have a chance,” said Boren, who is now president of the University of Oklahoma.
“I don’t think these are normal times.”
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