Bloomberg third-party run seen as threat to Democrats in blue states

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Ralph Z. Hallow

Repub­li­cans, while ex­press­ing some con­cern, gen­er­ally think they have less to fear than Democrats from Michael R. Bloomberg if the pop­u­lar New York City mayor mounts a third-party can­di­dacy for pres­i­dent.

The Wash­ing­ton Times re­ported May 14 that friends of Mr. Bloomberg, whose per­sonal for­tune is $5.5 bil­lion, has “set aside” and is pre­pared to spend an un­prece­dented $1 bil­lion of his own money for a in­de­pen­dent run for the White House.

Speak­ing to The Times only on the con­di­tion they not be named be­cause they do not think they can speak pub­licly for the mayor, th­ese friends said that he has told them he will make the run if he thinks he would have an ef­fect on the poli­cies and is­sues that will drive the 2008 pres­i­den­tial con­test.

They say a Bloomberg can­di­dacy would make it dif­fi­cult for the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee to win the elec­toral votes of New York, as well as of Con­necti­cut and New Jer­sey. All are blue-state must-wins for the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee, but not for the Repub­li­can stan­dard-bearer, whoever he turns out to be.

“If Bloomberg and his peo­ple can pull to­gether a se­ri­ous run, it will al­low some blue states to be­come very com­pet­i­tive for the GOP, such as New York, New Jer­sey and New Hamp­shire, maybe Colorado, Ohio — and the North­east in gen­eral,” said New Hamp­shire-based Repub­li­can cam­paign strate­gist David Car­ney.

For­mer Vir­ginia Demo­cratic Party Chair­man Paul Gold­man said that to make a se­ri­ous bid for the Oval Of­fice, Mr. Bloomberg needs the na­tion’s po­lit­i­cal press to “see him as the mod­er­ate in­de­pen­dent flanked by a con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­can and a lib­eral Demo­crat.”

“On the key vot­ing is­sues, his so­cial stances will tilt left; his eco­nomic- and for­eign-pol­icy views will lean slightly left; and his own gov­er­nance record leans left,” Mr. Gold­man said.

An­a­lysts and poll­sters say there is no ques­tion Pres­i­dent Bush’s 537-vote mar­gin in Florida in 2000 was af­fected by the Ralph Nader third-party can­di­dacy that year. Mr. Nader played a smaller but still sig­nif­i­cant role in 2004. H. Ross Perot took 18.9 per­cent of the to­tal 1992 vote in an elec­tion that Bill Clin­ton won by five per­cent­age points.

Amer­i­can Con­ser­va­tive Union Chair­man David A. Keene says Mr. Bloomberg “prob­a­bly would hurt the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee” more than the Repub­li­can, es­pe­cially if the New York mayor plays up his strong views in fa­vor of gun­con­trol laws, an is­sue that so far both ma­jor par­ties’ pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates “have taken off the ta­ble.”

Most cam­paign pro­fes­sion­als said that be­cause Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Gi­u­liani are lib­eral on so­cial-pol­icy is­sues, Mr. Bloomberg won’t run if it be­comes clear by early Fe­bru­ary that Mr. Gi­u­liani will get the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion. But a Repub­li­can who is a close friend — but not a pres­i­den­tial sup- porter of his — who has dis­cussed the is­sue with Mr. Bloomberg said Mr. Bloomberg has enough lin­ger­ing an­i­mos­ity for Mr. Gi­u­liani that a Gi­u­liani Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion vic­tory would not de­ter a Bloomberg third-party run.

Some Repub­li­cans harken back to the first Perot can­di­dacy.

“A Bloomberg can­di­dacy is bad news for the GOP,” Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can cam­paign strate­gist Jon Fleish­man said. “We al­ready saw Bill Clin­ton win the pres­i­dency be­cause of the Perot run.”

Mr. Fleish­man sees an up­side for his team next year. “Repub­li­cans do have one ace in the hole — the can­di­dacy of Hil­lary Clin­ton,” he said. “If she is the Demo­crat nom­i­nee, it seems like Bloomberg would re­ally eat into her base, as they are both from New York.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.