Bloomberg’s super PAC as test-run: ‘I’ll be freer to do more in a couple of years’
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today that his new super PAC's involvement in this year's election is something of a test-run for his post-mayoral plan.
"We'll win some races, we'll lose some of these, but it's sort of to get our feet wet," said Bloomberg during his regular Friday morning radio show appearance. "And then two years from now, when I don't have to worry about just what's good for New York City—I'm gonna live here the rest of my life, my kids are gonna live here, I'm gonna live in New York State, I'm gonna live in America, so I care about all these levels of government—but I'll be freer to do more in a couple of years."
Earlier this week, the mayor announced that he had created his own super PAC, and was planning to plow $10 to $15 million of his money into supporting up to a dozen candidates who conform to his notion of centrist independence.
His aide Howard Wolfson, who was a top Democratic political strategist before becoming a spokesman for Bloomberg and his brand of nonpartisanship, will be taking a leave of absence to run the super PAC through the November elections.
Those who stand to benefit from the mayor's largesse will have to agree to some degree with the mayor on at least one of three issues: gun control, same-sex marriage and education reform. Ideally, they will also have demonstrated some degree of independence from party orthodoxy.
"Just complaining is not something that I think is very productive," said Bloomberg today. "And so I'm gonna try to support candidates. And you could do it with one dollar or ten dollars or voting."
Bloomberg touted as a Bloombergian politician Angus King, the former governor of Maine who's running as an independent for Olympia Snowe's U.S. Senate seat.
Bloomberg recently held a fund-raiser for King, during which he encouraged him to caucus with neither party.
"I said, you know, if I were you, I would not align myself with either party … You just tell both of them on every issue you're gonna look at what they do and you go back and forth," recalled the mayor. "And he could be arguably the most powerful senator… . The country is so divided, roughly equally, that the Senate is gonna be roughly equal, and one vote can make all the difference in the world."
Another one of his beneficiaries is Senator Scott Brown, who is facing an energetic challenge in Massachusetts from Elizabeth Warren.
"He saved this country," said the mayor, referring to Brown's opposition to an N.R.A.-backed bill that would have required states to recognize concealed carry gun permits issued in other states.