Michael Bloomberg Getting Closer To Third Party Run?

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He’s a Democrat who switched sides so he could run for mayor of NYC. And from all indications, he’s been doing a great job as a centrist Republican, and leaving the city in better shape than he got it in even pre 9/11.

Now Newsweek reports that the incredibly wealthy Bloomberg is thinking about a 3rd party run for the White House. After all, Bloomberg spent $73 million of this own money on the mayor’s race in 2001 so the $200 million you need for the White House run probably wouldn’t be as big a deal for him as it is for all the other candidates.

Note the jab at Giuliani

March 12, 2007 issue – In the aftermath of 9/11, nobody thought he could fill Rudy Giuliani’s shoes. But under billionaire Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s Democrat-turned-Republican mayor, the city rebounded. He’s overseen a continued decline in the crime rate, forced restaurants to go smoke-free and has made vast strides in improving the public schools, the bane of any urban mayor. Not as ill-tempered as Giuliani, Bloomberg is doing a good jobâ€â€?perhaps, some New Yorkers might say, even a better job than his predecessor did. So why isn’t he the one running for president?

What would it take for Mike to run?

The answer is that it depends on who the nominees are for the two major parties, and how much cash Bloomberg is willing to spend. The money part is easy for a self-made media mogul. “He could spend $500 million in a campaign and not even think about it,” says From. But he’d probably do it only if buyer’s remorse sets in among the voters. Because the primary process is so front-loaded this cycle, the winners will be known in early February, leaving nine months until the election for voters to get antsy. “He won’t say anything until March of next year,” says a former aide privy to the early discussions who didn’t want to be named talking about them. “The guiding philosophy is who the Democratic and Republican nominees are, and the mood of the country once they know who those two people are.”

Okay, so I’m sorry…$500 million? Holy $#!+. He’d outspend both candidates combined.

So could he be the Unity ’08 candidate?

Hamilton Jordan, who masterminded Jimmy Carter’s 1976 come-from-nowhere candidacy, and Doug Bailey, a longtime Republican consultant, have teamed up to offer a third-party centrist ticket to be chosen online in a virtual convention in June 2008. So far, 35,000 members have signed onâ€â€?hardly a groundswell, but Jordan and Bailey are working to get on the ballot in all 50 states. Bloomberg would be a catch for their “Unity ’08” ticket, though he might bristle at the rule that the slate has to be bipartisan and just go it alone. Still, Jordan initiated a meeting with Sheekey. Says Jordan: “I let him know there’s an opening.”

Needless to say, 2008 could shape up to be one of the most exciting presidential campaigns in modern times. Especially if a 3rd party candidate actually sticks it out, which a guy like Bloomberg would do. Sorry Perot, you were interesting, but ultimately WAY too flaky. Imagine a completely non-flaky, whip-smart independent candidate?

In any event, I bet Bloomberg could win it. Of course it is still very early.