DNC, RNC chairs weigh in on prospect of Bloomberg run

Story highlights

  • The billionaire former New York City mayor has said he is considering an independent campaign
  • RNC chair Reince Priebus said he would welcome Bloomberg to the race, but only because he views the billionaire as a spoiler who would cull most of his support from the eventual Democratic nominee

Washington (CNN)The leaders of the Republican and Democratic national committees on Wednesday weighed in on the prospect of an independent presidential run by Michael Bloomberg.

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz suggested that the former New York City mayor's priorities are already "well cared-for" in the Democratic platform, while RNC leader Reince Priebus welcomed the idea, saying Bloomberg would siphon off votes from the Democratic candidate.
The billionaire recently told the Financial Times he found "the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters," and that he was "looking at all the options."
With two nominating contests gone and outsider candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump -- the two winners in New Hampshire -- looking like legitimate contenders, the likelihood of a Bloomberg bid could be growing.
Asked about the prospect by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Wasserman Schultz sought to ease the wealthy media mogul's concerns, saying that Bloomberg's priorities are "well cared-for in the Democratic nominees' priorities and the Democratic Party's agenda."
"(They are) certainly not cared-for by any of the Republicans that are running right now," the Florida congresswoman continued. "On the contrary, they would roll back progress on issues like education and consumer protection and gun safety and protecting people from people who would do them harm."
Wasserman Schultz's GOP counterpart Priebus, who spoke to Blitzer minutes later, took a different view of the question, saying he would welcome Bloomberg to the race, but only because he views the billionaire as a spoiler who would cull most of his support from the eventual Democratic nominee.
"I don't really view it as a third party (candidacy). I just view it as another Democrat," he said. "So you'll have two Democrats running and splitting their vote."
Priebus sought to pigeonhole Bloomberg as a "liberal Democrat" who "wants to take all the guns away" and "tax Slurpees and sodas," references to his calls for greater gun control and efforts to impose caps on soft drink sizes during his time running New York City.
"He can't get to 270 electoral votes. It's not even possible," Priebus added. "Even if he did win a few electoral votes, then he would put the race in the hands of (House Speaker) Paul Ryan and I would imagine Paul's going to choose the Republican."
If no candidate clinches a majority of electoral votes in the general election, the tiebreaker is put in the hands of the House of Representatives, which would likely put Ryan and his GOP colleagues in the position of picking the next president.