Ken McLaughlin
Posted: 09/18/2010 07:31:44 PM PDT
Updated: 09/18/2010 11:24:57 PM PDT

Governor’s race

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Meg Whitman of the East, will soon be headed west in his private jet to urge Californians to vote for Whitman for governor instead of Democrat Jerry Brown.

In a rare sit-down newspaper interview, Bloomberg told The New York Times that he will campaign for his fellow tech billionaire sometime next month. Bloomberg told the newspaper he is trying to push his centrist brand of politics by making endorsements in marquee races and helping moderate candidates fend off the conservative tea party movement.

Whitman, the former eBay CEO whose estimated wealth is $1.3 billion, last week surpassed Bloomberg’s out-of-pocket spending record for a single campaign when she donated $15 million more to her war chest, bringing her self-funding total to $119 million. During his re-election campaign last year, Bloomberg, a billionaire 18 times over, spent $109.2 million of his own money, or $185 a vote.

When Bloomberg first ran for mayor in 2001, his campaign was remarkably similar to Whitman’s gubernatorial campaign, with its themes of corporate-style accountability and fiscal conservatism. When push came to shove, however, he chose to raise New Yorkers’ property taxes by 18 percent as the post-9/11 economy went into a freefall. Bloomberg said he didn’t want to risk reversing the Big Apple’s heralded renaissance by cutting into services that enhance the city’s qualify of life.

Whitman has said she would never
raise taxes unless California experiences some catastrophic event such as a major earthquake.

Bloomberg’s visit is expected to enhance Whitman’s reputation as a political moderate as she enters the final and no doubt bloodiest weeks of the campaign.

The mayor had been a lifelong Democrat before deciding to run as a Republican to stand out in a crowded Democratic field. He has since become an independent willing to endorse candidates on both sides of the political aisle.

Besides Whitman, he will back Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who is facing a tough challenge from Republican Sharron Angle, a political newcomer and tea party favorite backed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

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