Bloomberg's Reach

Lincoln Chafee made New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg a symbol of his push for an independent style of governance. But it was a two-way exchange: Bloomberg's endorsement of dozens of candidates across the country was widely viewed as an attempt to build a national brand in preparation for a possible presidential run, even if the mayor has said he is not weighing a White House bid.

Here's a Wall Street Journal blog post on how the mayor fared on Election Day - and whether his endorsements really mattered:

Three-quarters of the candidates Mayor Michael Bloomberg supported nationwide won Tuesday night, but two-thirds of his choices for statewide office in New York lost, the election results revealed.

Bloomberg endorsed 38 candidates in the general election. Twenty eight won, eight lost and two remained too close to call.

The mayor’s worst showing was among statewide candidates on his home turf. In New York, both Dan Donovan, the Republican candidate for attorney general, and Harry Wilson, the GOP’s nominee for comptroller, lost to their Democratic rivals in close races.

“The chances of electing a Republican statewide were not great,” said Howard Wolfson, deputy mayor for government affairs and communications. “(But) you don’t walk away from your friends, or from people you think will be good in office just because they have an uphill fight.”

In the state Legislature, the mayor fared better. Each of the eight candidates he endorsed for the Assembly won and more than half of his choices for state Senate prevailed.

Wolfson said the mayor is pleased with the overall success of the candidates he backed. “Obviously, you want to bat 1.000, but batting .750 is not bad,” he said.

Some observers questioned Bloomberg’s role as powerbroker. Doug Muzzio, professor of public affairs at Baruch College, said he the impact of the mayor’s endorsements –- whether positive and negative -– was “likely infinitesimal.”

In terms of the Bloomberg brand, Muzzio said, the mayor likely helped in selling himself as “Mike Bloomberg: Sage/Philosopher King” or “Mike Bloomberg: Third Party Poobah.” The flurry of endorsements probably did nothing, he said, to advance any presidential ambitions that Bloomberg might harbor.

Wolfson described the mayor’s preferred candidates as “voices of moderation, consensus-builders, centrists because he believed that our politics has become too polarized,” Wolfson said. He predicted that the endorsements could be helpful as Bloomberg pushes the city’s policy agenda in Washington.

“The fact that we were successful with three of our four [U.S.] Senate endorsements obviously can’t hurt the next time we have issues in Washington,” Wolfson said. Democrat Joe Sestak was the lone U.S. Senate candidate endorsed by Bloomberg who lost.

Other high-profile losses Tuesday included Rep. Michael McMahon on Staten Island and two gubernatorial candidates, Meg Whitman of California and Tom Barrett of Wisconsin. Prior to Electon Day, two of the mayor’s picks lost in their primaries: Delaware U.S. Senate candidate Mike Castle and DC Mayor Adrian Fenty.


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