NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg has finally decided who he will be voting for in next month’s presidential election, but is not revealing his decision.
Earlier this year, some corners of the political blogosphere were abuzz with speculation about the possible benefits of a public boost from the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent.
Republican Sen. John McCain met with Bloomberg to argue the case for a Mitt Romney presidency, and days later, Romney himself met with the mayor. At about the same time, Vice President Joe Biden joined him for a game of golf.
Some suggested that the businessman mayor’s connections to Wall Street’s moneyed elite could deliver a wealthy donor base to the right candidate.
Others argued his reputation as a pragmatic-minded moderate with a disdain for partisan paralysis could help deliver undecided voters. Bloomberg’s deep pockets – Forbes magazine estimates his net worth at $25 billion – mean that he himself could be a valuable supporter in the age of the unfettered super PAC.
Given his comments on the two, it seems possible that his support for the candidate of his choice is somewhat lukewarm. He has accused Obama of unfairly seeking to raise taxes on only the rich, and said the Republicans are “divorced from reality” in their bid to extend the President George W. Bush-era tax cuts.
And Bloomberg has been openly disdainful of both when it comes to gun control. His advocacy group has launched a national ad campaign calling on them to issue a plan on how they would address firearm violence.
“They’ve been cowed by the NRA,” he said this month. “They’re deliberately avoiding it and I think it’s a disgrace.”
Public backing for a losing candidate could damage the city’s standing in the federal budget process and its ability to successfully lobby on national issues.
Also, if Bloomberg was to take the side of the Republicans and publicly promote a Romney presidency, it could hurt him at home in his work with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the heavily Democratic New York City Council, suggested Hunter College political science professor Kenneth Sherrill.
But for the candidates, Sherrill argued, a nod from Bloomberg – known for progressive views on social issues and a business-oriented take on fiscal policy – could help sway both undecided voters and those who aren’t too attached to their pick.
“He legitimizes either one of them,” Sherrill said – either by helping Romney cement a swing toward the center or by giving a respected entrepreneur’s seal of approval to the state of the economy under Obama.
Fordham University politics professor Joseph Mercurio disagrees. Public praise from the mayor could ultimately hurt a candidate precisely because of the mayor’s refusal to tow a party line, he said.
“The truth is he’d probably be a negative for either one of them,” said the political media consultant, a Democrat who isn’t working on the presidential race. “He’d wind up endorsing somebody, and then you’d have all the baggage of the things he would do after that. He would invariably say something about issues or make a comment that’s not in sync with your voters.”
Despite publicly pondering a late-campaign endorsement, for now, Bloomberg is keeping his distance from both men.
While many of his constituents stayed in to watch the first Obama-Romney debate, the mayor stepped out, and spent the night at a Carnegie Hall gala.
Do you think Bloomberg should announce who he is voting for? Would you like to see the mayor launch a presidential bid for the next election? Share your comments below…
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