Los Angeles Times

A new 2016 twist, from the center

- By Lisa Mascaro lisa.mascaro@latimes.com

WASHINGTON — The prospect of billionair­e Michael R. Bloomberg launching an independen­t presidenti­al bid dropped new uncertaint­y into an already highly unusual 2016 primary season.

The former New York mayor has fostered presidenti­al aspiration­s before. But the 73-year-old appears, like many Americans watching the raucous primary campaign, to be seeking a dose of stability in the race.

“His advisors and associates said he was galled by Donald J. Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side,” according to the New York Times, which first reported he was considerin­g a run. Bloomberg would be willing to spend $1 billion of his own money, the story said.

Coming just more than a week before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses kick off the nominating process, Bloomberg ’s intentions throw new political calculatio­ns into an already topsy-turvy race.

A Bloomberg candidacy could cut several ways in a three-person race as an independen­t challengin­g the two parties’ nominees.

Bloomberg’s campaigns against sugar-laden soda drinks and his efforts to stem gun violence may attract voters who hew toward Democrats, potentiall­y stripping votes from that party’s nominee. His ties to Wall Street, however, could sour some seeking more populist leadership.

At the same time, he could have sway with more moderate-minded Republican­s who would be uncomforta­ble if Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas emerged as the party’s nominee.

Bloomberg appears to be weighing these and other factors, according to the report, and has set an early March deadline for reaching a decision.

He is said to be most interested in making a bid if Democrats nominate Sanders and Republican­s nominate Trump or Cruz. In such a case, Bloomberg apparently believes he would draw support from moderates in both parties.

Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler welcomed a possible Bloomberg bid, saying the former mayor’s controvers­ial positions would be easy to run against.

“I don’t want to get my hopes up that the 2016 campaign could be about gun control, cap-and-trade and Big Gulps,” he said. “Please, please run!”

 ?? Mario Tama Getty Images ?? REPORTS say Michael Bloomberg is considerin­g a run as an independen­t.
Mario Tama Getty Images REPORTS say Michael Bloomberg is considerin­g a run as an independen­t.

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