WASHINGTON (JTA) — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg reportedly is exploring a presidential run.
The New York Times on Saturday anonymously quoted aides and associates of Bloomberg, a media magnate and three-term New York mayor, as saying he saw an opening in case Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., won the Republican and Democratic nominations, respectively.
Bloomberg, 73, was mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013. He was a Democrat until his first run, in 2001, when unable to secure the party’s nomination, he became a Republican. He became an independent in 2007.
Earlier this month it was revealed that Bloomberg commissioned a poll to test how he would fare in a presidential run. Bloomberg previously considered presidential runs, but had concluded that an independent’s chances are near zero.
Now, however, according to the Times, he feels that the prospect of Trump, a populist whose campaign has been fueled to a great degree by anti-immigrant rhetoric, facing off against Sanders, a social democrat who like Trump rails against the political establishment, could change that calculus.
According to the article, Bloomberg would consider spending up to $1 billion of his own money on a run. He is much less likely to enter the race if Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state who is the front-runner among Democrats, emerges as the candidate.
Clinton still prevails in national polls, but Sanders has begun to surpass her in polling in the first two voting states, Iowa and New Hampshire.
Bloomberg, who like Sanders is Jewish, has maintained close ties to Israel, making a last-minute visit to the country during its 2014 war with Hamas to show that travel was safe in the face of a brief Federal Aviation Authority ban.
He won the inaugural $1 million Genesis Generation Challenge in 2014, a prize awarded for “engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and/or the State of Israel.” His charity, Bloomberg Philanthropies, has provided $1.5 million to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in urban innovation grants.
Bloomberg made his fortune, now valued at approximately $40 billion, from the media and financial data company he founded, Bloomberg L.P.