New York Magazine’s John Heilemann spoke to Michael Bloomberg aide Kevin Sheekey in October and reports that the New York City mayor’s office has strong interest in using an Americans Elect presidential ballot line to run for President in 2012.
One key factor, now as three years ago, is Bloomberg’s ability to get onto the ballot nationwide. Thus are Sheekey and others eagerly monitoring a new outfit called Americans Elect, which plans to launch early next year. Backed by a wealthy private investor, Peter Ackerman, the group says on its single-page website that it intends to hold a web-based convention to nominate a “balanced presidential ticket that will bridge the vital center of American public opinion” and place it “on the ballot in all 50 states.” Ackerman has already put $1.55 million into the project, with more to come.
Americans Elect is in fact backed solely by Peter Ackerman’s contributions of $1.55 million in the second and 3rd quarters of 2010. Moreover, a dance between Bloomberg and Americans Elect would not be new. Americans Elect is, after all, the new incarnation of Unity08 — the two groups shared the same business address for a time. Before that, Unity08 shared its business address with the Draft Bloomberg Committee. Indeed, the founders of Unity08 registered the domain name draftmichaelbloomberg.com in June 2007, at a time when Unity08 was insisting that it had no candidates in mind, that the people would choose, and also at a time when Unity08 leaders were holding secret talks with the Bloomberg camp.
Many of the senior leaders of Unity08 have moved on, or at least are not publicly involved with Americans Elect at this point. One senior Unity08 leader has remained: Peter Ackerman, co-chair of the Unity08 rules committee from the beginning, member of the Unity08 Board of Directors, member of the Unity08 Advisory Committee and now Chairman of the Board and sole funder of Americans Elect.
The relationship between Michael Bloomberg and Americans Elect bears watching.