Billionaire former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose mission as a political financier has been to help elect moderates in both parties, endorsed Republican Charlie Baker on Tuesday, through a spokesman hailing Baker’s ability to work with both parties.
But Bloomberg plans to split the ticket in Massachusetts, also getting behind Democratic congressional candidate Seth Moulton.
The New York Times, which first reported Bloomberg’s foray on Tuesday, found that it comes as part of a multi-state, $25 million effort to help back moderate candidates with television ads paid for by his Independence USA PAC, according to the Times.
Baker already enjoys a hefty financial advantage over Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley. As of Oct. 1, Baker had nearly six times as much cash in the bank as did Coakley.
A Baker strategist said the campaign was unaware of how much Bloomberg planned to spend on its behalf. Campaigns are prohibited from coordinating with super PACs.
In a statement circulated by Baker’s campaign, Bloomberg spokesman Howard Wolfson — a former aide to Hillary Clinton, who is expected to campaign for Coakley — praised Baker’s “highly impressive record of experience in the public and private sectors,” saying he had “always been willing to reach across the aisle to put taxpayers above partisan politics.”
Bloomberg’s move could come as a particular blow to Moulton’s opponent, Republican Richard Tisei. Bloomberg was a longtime member of the Democratic Party before jumping to the GOP as he prepared to run for mayor in 2001. After winning a second term, Bloomberg unenrolled and became an independent.
Wolfson said Bloomberg endorsed Moulton because he “wants to elect people who are open and actually inclined to work with people across the aisle.”