What to make of Michael Bloomberg diving head first into a series of contested Democratic primaries today?
Barbara Barteletti of the League of Women
Conservation Voters sounded disappointed that the billionaire mayor was endorsing, and not funding, his preferred candidates.
“That sheds a little different light on it,” she said, noting, “Under New York State campaign finance laws, he can throw as much money at them as he wants.” (So can Republican billionaire Tom Golisano and his P.A.C.)
But, she said, “The fact that he’s only endorsing them–that he’s using his political goodwill as mayor in those areas of New York City, means a great deal.
“Certainly, it goes without saying that if you’re a popular politician in this era, when many aren’t, and you put forward endorsement of candidates, people are going to think, ‘Well, if Bloomberg thinks this is a good candidate, maybe I should vote for him too.’”
Even Vito Lopez, the Brooklyn Democratic leader who is supporting some of the candidates Bloomberg opposes, told me the mayor can influence this set of elections.
“I believe the mayor has done a very good job," Lopez said. "I believe he will have an impact. But I believe Marty Connor will be very successful.”
Two things are worth pointing out about the recent flurry of endorsements. First, Bloomberg didn’t (yet?) choose a candidate in Sheldon Silver’s Assembly district, where the speaker is facing two challengers in the primary, Luke Henry and Paul Newell.
Second, the endorsements may have been foreshadowed by a FaceBook status change by Bloomberg’s top aide, Kevin Sheekey. Yesterday, Sheekey left the Washington D.C. network and rejoined the one in New York.
Sheekey last changed networks like this during Bloomberg’s stealth presidential race.