Tom Golisano’s new political action committee could put him on a collision course with Michael Bloomberg, who has openly talked very publicly about what he says would be the benefits of keeping Republicans in control of the State Senate.
As Bloomberg’s former communications director Bill Cunningham told me, “They may have dueling agendas.”
“The mayor’s agenda has typically been what’s good for New York City. Golisano’s agenda sounds like it is a traditional reform agenda about the process of state government. So here you have philosophy versus process.” He also said the mayor, since he’s in office, is dealing with “the real politics,” of the Albany-New York City relationship. Golisano, he said, is dealing with “the philosophy” of governing, “and that could create some tension.”
Aside from that, Cunningham went on to say any billionaire looking to dump a bunch of money into politics should be careful.
“I think in some races if you spend one million in some Assembly or State Senate races, you’ll have some impact” but “you may create an equal and opposite reaction.” That‘s because “voters don’t like the idea of a guy stepping in and tossing money into the race telling them who to vote for if he’s not the name on the ballot.”
“Voters don’t respond well to negative ads. They don’t like it when candidates do it, and may like it even less when a guy who isn’t a candidate does it,” he said. It “sometimes backfires on people, especially in upstate New York.”
And I can’t help but mention this parting shot where Cunningham dumped on the idea of directly comparing the two sometime-Republican billionaires. Referring to Golisano’s 2002 gubernatorial bid, Cunningham said, “He’s already shown you can spend 60 million and not get elected.”