Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Bloomberg’s 2016 tally: $65 million and counting - POLITICO

Bloomberg’s 2016 tally: $65 million and counting - POLITICO:

Bloomberg’s 2016 tally: $65 million and counting
With little fanfare, the former New York mayor has emerged as one of the election’s top donors.

Mike Bloomberg is quietly finishing as one of the biggest spenders of the 2016 cycle.

The former New York City mayor, who’s adamant about his political independence and gives to Republicans and Democrats who align with positions he wants, comes into Election Day having donated more than $65 million — overwhelmingly to issue campaigns for local gun control and soda tax measures, but also to 18 individual candidates.

That’s all happened with very little public presence — and doesn’t include a single dollar toward the presidential race — putting Bloomberg just behind Tom Steyer in total federal contributions and well ahead of what GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson has put into White House, Senate and House races this year.

Steyer’s giving is all focused on the environment. Adelson’s goes across the Republican spectrum, but with a special tilt toward fellow right-wingers on Israel policy. The Koch Brothers have built a massive network with almost $1 billion in spending this cycle that often comes in to reshape key races in pursuit of Republican wins for conservative, libertarian-leaning causes.

Bloomberg backs a mix of Republican and Democrats, has become more focused on referenda and his operation is contained to a small team of advisers who’ve stayed in his orbit from his days in City Hall.

“No one in the country operates this way,” said Howard Wolfson, who runs the effort along with longtime political guru Kevin Sheekey.

Bloomberg consciously made his Donald Trump-slicing speech at the Democratic convention in July his final statement in the White House campaign, opting against giving money to already well-funded super PACs or television appearances to reinforce the message.

Aides point out that other than the short speech Bloomberg made as the host mayor during the 2004 GOP convention and his endorsement of Barack Obama via op-ed in 2012 — and, of course, taking yet another look at running for president himself this year — he has mostly avoided getting directly involved in campaigning.

“This is the most aggressive he has ever been for any presidential candidate — he felt that strongly about this election,” Wolfson said. “When you speak rarely, it carries more power, and that applied here. The convention speech was most effective standing on its own.”

Bloomberg backed six Senate candidates and six House candidates, including Bloomberg’s 2016 tally: $65 million and counting - POLITICO:

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