According to several sources, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a onetime moderate Republican who has crusaded on gun control, is considering throwing $1 billion of his vast fortune into an independent bid for president.
Bloomberg has instructed his advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year’s presidential race. Reportedly, he was ‘galled’ by Donald Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side.
One source told CNN that aides to the three-term mayor are looking at ballot access issues, but the source refused to speak specifically about what Bloomberg, 73, asked to be done.
The source added that Bloomberg sees the Republican and Democratic presidential races as becoming increasingly polarized, and neither fits Bloomberg’s views. But Bloomberg, who has flirted with Oval Office aspirations in the past, is serious about a possible candidacy, the source insisted.
News of Bloomberg’s consideration was first reported Saturday morning by The New York Times, which said the media mogul would be willing to spend $1 billion of his own money on a White House bid.
Two sources close to Bloomberg said internal polling found that he would theoretically take away more Republican votes from Trump or Cruz than Democratic votes from Sanders. But one source noted, however, that that could change.
The New York Times added that Mr. Bloomberg would face daunting and perhaps insurmountable obstacles in a presidential campaign: No independent candidate has ever been elected to the White House, and Mr. Bloomberg’s close Wall Street ties and liberal social views, including his strong support for abortion rights and gun control, could repel voters on the left and right.
But his possible candidacy also underscores the volatility of a presidential race that could be thrown into further turmoil by a wild-card candidate like Mr. Bloomberg.