By Ben Kamisar
Bloomberg considering third-party run for president: report
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering a third-party bid for president, telling allies he could spend at least $1 billion to mount the uphill climb, according to the New York Times.
He has reportedly set a final deadline of early March and has asked his aides to create a roadmap for his potential bid. Those efforts include research into state-specific rules on how to appear on presidential ballots and a "detailed study of past third-party bids," the report says.
If Bloomberg were to run, one plan would have him give a "series of detailed policy speeches" and hit the airwaves with an aggressive push to boost his name recognition and frame him as a "technocratic problem-solver and self-made businessman who understands the economy and who built a bipartisan administration in New York."
The paper previously reported that Bloomberg polled how he'd stack up in a three-way brawl against Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump steps up campaign spending in final stretch Clinton and Trump chat at Al Smith dinner GOP senator: I'd consider Clinton Supreme Court pick MORE and Republican leader Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump steps up campaign spending in final stretch Clinton and Trump chat at Al Smith dinner Video shows Trump being turned away at polling sites in 2004 MORE, and now says he will poll again after the New Hampshire primary.
Bloomberg has said he'd be more likely to run if Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersMichelle Obama: Trump 'humiliates women as if we’re objects' Overnight Healthcare: Obama confronts health law's 'growing pains' | Sanders slams leukemia drug price hike WikiLeaks: Advisers were nervous about Clinton touting her support for Israel MORE won the Democratic nomination and either Trump or Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump steps up campaign spending in final stretch McMullin tops new poll of Utah voters Cruz: Voter fraud a challenge MORE won the Republican nomination.
Ed Rendell, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told the Times that he'd "take a look" at backing Bloomberg in that hypothetical situation.
The pledge to spend $1 billion of his fortune could upend the race and potentially pit two of the wealthiest candidates in modern times against each other.
Trump, also a billionaire, has said he's self-funding his campaign and would be willing to aggressively ramp up the spending. But so far, that hasn't been necessary as he's received donations without solicitation and has dominated most polls without much spending.
Morning Consult tested a Bloomberg third-party bid against Clinton and Trump in a poll this week.
It showed Trump with 37 percent, Clinton with 36 percent, and Bloomberg with 13 percent.
The former New York City mayor was most popular with independents, winning 18 percent of that group, but only 8 percent of both Republicans and Democrats.
- Updated at 1:20 p.m.