Ex-NYC Mayor Bloomberg backs Baker for governor
BOSTON (AP) — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is wading into Massachusetts politics with endorsements of candidates from both major parties: Republican Charlie Baker in the governor’s race and Democrat Seth Moulton in the state’s 6th Congressional District contest.
Bloomberg planned to spend $25 million to assist about 10 gubernatorial or congressional candidates nationwide through his Independence USA political action committee, said Stu Loeser, a spokesman for the PAC.
Originally a Democrat, Bloomberg was first elected mayor as a Republican in 2001 and is now an independent.
Bloomberg chose to endorse Baker, the former chief executive of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, because he admired his work in rescuing the insurer from bankruptcy and his earlier commitment to modernizing state government as a member of two Republican administrations, Loeser said.
Bloomberg was also impressed with Baker’s willingness to break from national Republicans on issues such as gun control and abortion.
“He’s willing to stand up and defend women’s rights. He’s willing to stand up for gun safety,” Loeser said.
Baker, in a statement, said he welcomes the endorsement and shares Bloomberg’s “brand of bipartisan fiscally responsible leadership.”
The Republican faces Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley in what polls have shown to be a tight race. Three independent candidates will also be on the Nov. 4 ballot.
In endorsing Moulton over Richard Tisei, a moderate Republican, Bloomberg said he liked Moulton’s potential to represent a new generation of political leadership and was drawn to his background as an Iraq War veteran who came to view the conflict as a mistake.
Moulton, who defeated nine-term Democratic U.S. Rep. John Tierney in the September primary, called Bloomberg “a leader on gun safety, gay rights, the environment and job creation.”
The New York Times first reported Tuesday on plans by the Bloomberg’s PAC planned to spend $25 million in the final weeks before the midterm elections.
Howard Wolfson, a political advisor to Bloomberg, told the Times that the former mayor “wants to elect people who are open and actually inclined to work with people across the aisle.”
Bloomberg’s PAC planned to begin a $2.3 million ad campaign this week on behalf of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, the Times reported.
Loeser said he didn’t know how much would be spent in Massachusetts for Baker or Moulton or if Bloomberg would personally campaign in the state.
The former mayor and billionaire media mogul has deep ties to Massachusetts. He grew up in Medford, where his mother, Charlotte Bloomberg, lived until her death in 2011 at 102.
The PAC also planned to run ads for Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo, who is facing Republican Allan Fung.