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The Bloomberg Game Plan

May 18, 2010

It’s an all-Democratic world in New York, and you’re the state’s highest-profile Republican. What do you do?

Well, the only thing anybody really respects is power and influence and, unless you’re constantly working to expand your power and influence, you’re losing it.  At the same time, you must be very careful not to antagonize people you need to get things done.

This is Mike Bloomberg’s challenge this year. He must balance the risks and rewards of engaging in partisan politics.

Bloomberg, personally, has never been good at this game. Fortunately, he’s always associated himself with seasoned political hands, the latest being Howard Wolfson. With the help of such operatives, he has managed pretty well in a solidly blue state. This year, however, the stakes are higher than ever.

Here’s the playbook:

Governor:  Bloomberg wants to build a personal relationship with Andrew Cuomo. The city and state are facing several years’ worth of tough budgets. He’ll stay out of the gubernatorial race and be friendly to Cuomo, while at the same time working discreetly to check Cuomo’s power. (See below, the AG and Comptroller races)

U.S. Senate: Schumer is a friend and partner. These are two guys who love to build things. Yes, there are occasional disagreements, such as over Obama’s Wall Street reforms and health care plan, but the relationship between the two is solid, and Bloomberg won’t do anything to mess it up.  

U.S. Senate: Gillibrand is weak. Bloomberg is tempted to get involved, but won’t engage because she is Chuck’s protégé.

NYS Senate: This one is dicey. Bloomberg once bankrolled Joe Bruno and the aging GOP conference. With his continued support, it’s possible for the GOP to win back the majority. But there’s no telling how things turn out. Moreover, Bloomberg actually likes John Sampson.  Bloomberg will provide a basic level of support to the Republicans, but won’t go over the top this time around. In fact, he’ll help both sides.

AG: Staten Island DA Dan Donovan stacks up well against the announced Democratic candidates in the race.  Bloomberg will back him in a big way – in part because he’s an old friend and also for strategic purposes. (The AG can make life miserable for a governor if he wants to, as Eliot Spitzer well knows.)

Comptroller: Bloomberg will also help Harry Wilson. Despite Bloomberg’s sentiment regarding John Liu, he believes in having someone of the opposite party watch the books.  This is also another opportunity to keep Cuomo in check.  

Congressional candidates: Bloomberg doesn’t want this distraction. He’ll do his best to convince the national Republicans that he’s doing the right thing for the party without going overboard to defeat Dem incumbents.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. mark Keister permalink
    May 18, 2010 2:29 PM

    T h a n k G o d M i k e d o e s n o t d r i n k T e a

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