Bloomberg Puts Up Cash for Democratic Senators
WASHINGTON—Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave $2.5 million to a super PAC dedicated to retaining Democratic control of the U.S. Senate, and aides hinted he could plow more of his estimated $31 billion fortune into this year’s races.
The contribution went to the Senate Majority PAC, which is run by former aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.).
Mr. Bloomberg has also given to Republicans in the past, and it wasn’t immediately clear if the donation meant the former mayor was shifting his donations entirely to Democrats.
An aide for the former mayor confirmed the donation, which was first reported by Politico, but didn’t respond to any other questions.
Election handicappers say that the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans, is unlikely to change hands in this year’s elections. That’s focused most of the attention this year on the Senate, where Democrats and independents who caucus with them currently hold a 55-45 majority.
Democrats are defending 21 of the 35 seats up for grabs in the mid-term elections, many of them in GOP-leaning states that backed Republican Mitt Romney in last year’s presidential election. The Democrats’ path has become more difficult with the rocky rollout of health care law championed by President Obama and his party.
Conservative groups such as Americans for Prosperity are targeting several vulnerable Democratic senators in traditionally-Republican states, particularly over their support of the health care law. The recipient of Mr. Bloomberg’s latest donation, Senate Majority PAC, has recently started running ads to support three such senators: Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Kay Hagan in North Carolina and Mark Pryor in Arkansas.
Mr. Bloomberg’s donations could become a meaningful factor in this year’s elections, if he decides to weigh in heavily on Democrats side. An aide hinted that he could become more active since stepping down as New York mayor last week.
“Mike Bloomberg has made clear that he will continue to fight for the causes that matter to New Yorkers, even more so now that he isn’t constrained by the mayoralty,” the aide, Howard Wolfson, told Politico.
Mr. Bloomberg had previously pushed for new gun controls through Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group he helped establish. He had also put several million dollars into Independence PAC USA, a group he set up that aimed to support “moderates on both sides of the aisle” on issues such as gun control and same-sex marriage.
Mr. Bloomberg was a Democrat who turned Republican when he first ran for office. He later switched his affiliation to independent.