“How likely is a 5’7” Jew-from-New-York billionaire, who’s divorced and running as an independent, to become president of the United States?” That is the question New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is asking, and so are a lot of other people. Will Bloomberg run and be a viable candidate for the 2008 presidential race?
Bloomberg had been saying no, but March 5, 2007 on Fox News, he gave different answer. When asked if he was running for president he said, “I don’t think so—and if I was going to do it, I don’t think I’d announce it right here.” This is a man who can afford to wait. He doesn’t need to enter into the fund-raising race. Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg’s aide has suggested the following scenario. Next year, when the front runners were clear, if the candidates were on the clear left and right, then Bloomberg would enter the race as a down the middle, independent candidate. Bloomberg is not expected to announce before March 2008.
Bloomberg had been a lifelong Democrat, when in 2001 he decided to run for Mayor of New York as a Republican. Bloomberg exercised his right to opt out of the campaign finance rules. He spent seventy three million dollars of his own money on his campaign, outspending his opponent by five to one. His business experience was considered a plus in helping New York recover from 9/11. Under New York rules, a candidate can run representing more than one party, and consolidate the votes. Bloomberg was also the Independence Party candidate. The votes from the Independence Party gave him the majority.
Bloomberg is pro choice, in favor of legalizing gay marriage and stronger gun control. He opposed the confirmation of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States, because did not believe that Roberts would maintain Roe v. Wade. He has shown strong support for education, poverty, healthcare, and immigration reform. He was reelected in 2005 with a twenty percent margin, the largest ever for a Republican candidate.
Bloomberg was born in Medford, Massachusetts on February 14, 1942. His father was the bookkeeper for the local dairy. Bloomberg financed his college education by parking cars and taking out loans. He graduated from John Hopkins University and earned an MBA from Harvard. After graduation, he was hired by Salomon Brothers and went to work on Wall Street. Working his way to the top, he became a partner in 1972. In 1981, he left Salomon Brothers and began his own company. This company moved Wall Street from the old ledgers to computers as a way to analyze data; making Bloomberg very wealthy in the process.
Whether Bloomberg’s wealth proves to be an asset in running for president, is to be seen. Fundraising is not just about accumulating money. It is about getting supporters to invest in your campaign. A voter is more likely maintain his loyalty and vote for a candidate he has made an investment in. From mayor to president is a long leap, as an independent candidate it will be even harder. Will there be enough voters willing to abandon the traditional parties and support a middle of the road candidate like Michael Bloomberg?