When news got out that Michael Bloomberg was planning to meet with Republican county chairmen to seek their approval to run in their primary, I wrote that the event probably marked the beginning of the end of John Catsimatidis, another billionaire looking to run for mayor on the Republican line.
Catsimatidis supporters reacted strongly, in writing (see the comments section on that post) on email and over the phone. They pointed out, correctly, that while Catsimatidis was a member of the Republican Party, and therefore eligible to run in the primary, Bloomberg, a registered independent, was somewhat embarrassingly reduced to begging the city’s Republican chairs to grant him permission to participate.
(Without the Republican line, the mayor could still run, but would likely end up having to create his own party line that would appear near the bottom of the ballot.)
But one fact never changed: Catsimatidis hadn’t, and still hasn’t, committed to staying in the race if the mayor runs. Few neutral observers seem to think that Catsimatidis will.
Since that post, Bloomberg’s prospects for getting the Republican line seem to have improved somewhat. He locked up support from two out of the necessary majority of three chairmen whose approval he would need in order to enter the Republican primary. Two others have indicated they won’t support him, but the fifth and deciding vote will be cast by the chairperson from the mayor’s home borough of Manhattan, who has said that she’ll base her decision on what the local party leaders say.
I went back to the Catsimatidis people to see whether anything had changed in terms of their willingness to make an in-it-to-win statement.
Rob Ryan, the spokesman, emailed to say, “the real question is does Mike Bloomberg run if he doesn’t get the Republican line.”