Bloomberg’s potential bid organized by familiar band of aides
The cast of people advising former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on his latest prospective presidential campaign, as described by sources familiar with the project, is as well known to New York's political class as Bloomberg’s periodic presidential contemplations themselves.
The Times reported this week that the billionaire former mayor has asked his advisers to draw up plans for a possible independent run.
According to the sources, who described the makeup of the proto-campaign on condition of anonymity, Bloomberg's former City Hall deputy Howard Wolfson is helping to lead the exploratory effort, along with Bradley Tusk, who managed Bloomberg's last re-election campaign, and Kevin Sheekey, a former deputy mayor who has all but made it his life's mission to get Bloomberg on the presidential ticket.
Patti Harris, Bloomberg’s top deputy mayor and longtime consligliere, is also advising him, according to the sources, while Doug Schoen, Bloomberg’s longtime public opinion consultant, is conducting polls for the formative campaign.
Bloomberg's former City Hall spokesmen Stu Loeser and Marc Lavorgna have effectively started work already, handling the deluge of press inquiries that flowed in after the Times report.
Wolfson, who works at Bloomberg's international consulting group, could find himself in a delicate position, given his significant connection to Clinton from his time as a top aide on her grueling 2008 presidential bid.
While a Clinton victory in the Democratic primary presumably makes a Bloomberg bid less plausible — the Times reported that the 73-year-old ex-mayor was motivated in part by "Clinton's stumbles and the rise of Bernie Sanders" — the sources maintain that his run wouldn't necessarily be contingent on Sanders winning. (The Times report noted that Bloomberg commissioned a poll in December measuring a hypothetical match-up against Clinton and Donald Trump.)
The sources said that Bloomberg would wait until early to mid March to make a decision. One of them said that Bloomberg's decision would hinge on the results of the Super Tuesday primaries on March 1, and put the odds of Bloomberg’s jumping into the race at 40-60.
Bloomberg enjoyed a close working relationship with Clinton when they were both officials in New York, and threw her a "welcome home" party after her loss in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. He reportedly tried to recruit her at one point to run for mayor after he left office.
Asked for comment, Wolfson emailed, “Think I will pass. Thanks though.”
He copied LaVorgna on his response.
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, the original version of this article referred to Bloomberg's "2010 re-election campaign." The election was in 2009.