New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is meeting this week with Nancy Reagan and hosting a fundraiser for the Ronald Reagan Library — and political observers say the link between the two would be a boost for Bloomberg if he runs for president.
Ronald Reagan’s name is frequently invoked on the GOP campaign trail and Republican candidates sought to link themselves to his legacy during the first GOP debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., in May.
If Bloomberg does decide to run as an independent, “his only real chance of winning is to attract people from across the spectrum,” Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, told the New York Sun.
“This certainly is one way to get the attention of Republicans. There are going to be a certain number of Republicans disgruntled with the nominee, no matter who it is.”
Bloomberg left the Republican Party in June, sparking speculation that he was positioning himself for a presidential run as an independent.
Bloomberg and Nancy Reagan share an interest in stem cell research. Last year Bloomberg donated $100 million to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, much of which was earmarked to fund stem cell research, Reuters reported.
Nancy Reagan became a vocal proponent for the research after her husband developed Alzheimer’s disease, which is opposed by many conservatives.
Political consultant Joseph Mercurio told the Sun that Bloomberg’s meeting with the former first lady at his Manhattan townhouse and the Reagan Library fundraiser are part of a schedule that increasingly suggests he is eyeing a White House run.
He will speak Friday at a National League of Cities convention in New Orleans, and is planning a trip to the Bali in Indonesia to attend a U.N. summit on climate change in December.
Hosting the Reagan Library fundraiser and being photographed with Nancy Reagan, Mercurio said, “sounds like a very good thing to be doing if you are a presidential candidate.”
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