Bloomberg news

There apparently can never be too many New York billionaires in the race for president. Or, at a minimum, one may not be enough.

The weekend brought news that former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has instructed underlings to begin drawing up plans for a potential independent run for president. Medford Mike is said to be distraught at the idea of a Republican nominee drawn from what he sees as the whacky wing of the party (Donald Trump or Ted Cruz would fit that bill). He feels similarly about the idea of Bernie Sanders atop the Democratic ticket (with all the Bern’s unkind words for billionaires and Wall Street types), while Hillary Clinton draws a top spot on his meh list.

The 73-year-old business mogul has set a deadline of early March to decide on a run, and has reportedly told friends he would be willing to spend as much as $1 billion of his own money on a race.

Former Democratic National Committee chairman and Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell tells the Times the most likely scenario for a Bloomberg run is “the not-impossible-but-somewhat-unlikely circumstance of either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz versus Bernie Sanders.” Rendell is a big Clinton ally, and he pours cold water on the idea that Bloomberg would have any chance if she is the Democratic nominee. But he leaves the door open to backing an independent Bloomberg candidacy if Sanders is the party’s pick.

“As a lifelong Democrat, as a former party chairman, it would be very hard for me to do that,” Rendell tells the Times. “But I would certainly take a look at it — absolutely.”

Globe editorial page editor Ellen Clegg checks in with Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College. Like Rendell, he thinks a Bloomberg run is unlikely if Clinton is the Democratic nominee, but suggests there could be opening if the Dems tack hard to the left with Sanders and the GOP goes right with Trump or Cruz. In such a circumstance, he says, Bloomberg could be in the best position of any non-major party candidate since former president Teddy Roosevelt ran (unsuccessfully) under the Bull Moose banner in 1912.

There is exactly zero precedent for an independent candidate winning the White House, and perhaps only slightly more than zero reason to think that could change this year. Along with all the other things going against him, Bloomberg is a fairly drab personality. Aides who spoke anonymously to the Times said a run would start with a big ad buy to “introduce him to voters around the country as a technocratic problem-solver.” Ask Michael Dukakis how that worked out for him.

Bloomberg could appeal to a certain sensible middle of the electorate. But he also has a profile that would make him equally unacceptable to those on the left and right, with his Wall Street background hardly what riled-up Democratic activists are looking for, while his big-city mayoral agenda, headlined by strong gun-control advocacy, is not likely to endear him to voters on the right.

The Atlantic, apparently anticipating that this day would come, helpfully assembled a chronicle last October of Bloomberg’s long history of flirtations with a White House run.

There’s this from a 2013 interview with New York: “I am 100 percent convinced that you cannot in this country win an election unless you are the nominee of one of the two major parties.”

He also said a “short, Jewish, divorced billionaire” would face problems on those scores, and suggested in an interview more than five years ago that he thought he was too old to run.

The bottom line, says The Atlantic, in a prequel to Saturday’s story broken by the Times: “Don’t put any money on Michael Bloomberg becoming president, no matter what you read in the New York media.”

–MICHAEL JONAS

 

BEACON HILL

ML Strategies, which has close ties to the Baker administration, reports its lobbying fees soar 75 percent in 2015. Clients include Wynn Resorts, Spectra Energy, Boston University, and General Electric. (CommonWealth)

Gov. Charlie Baker is pushing a tax break that would benefit GE. (Boston Business Journal)

Dan Dolan of the New England Power Generators Association says Baker’s hydroelectricity plan is a bad bet. (CommonWealth)

Elizabeth Mehren examines whether the bipartisan bromance between Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh could be an antidote to the partisan toxicity plaguing the nation. (WBUR)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester reports a $1.2 million operating deficit for fiscal 2015. (Telegram & Gazette)

The Lawrence Partnership, a development fund seeded with money from four banks and the city, makes two loans to local businesses. (Eagle-Tribune)

The developers of a proposed controversial power plant in Brockton have filed a motion to dismiss some city officials from its lawsuit challenging the city’s decision to bare use of treated wastewater for cooling. (The Enterprise)

CASINOS/GAMBLING

DraftKings implements some of the consumer protections proposed by Attorney General Maura Healey. (WBUR)

ELECTIONS

The Globe “enthusiastically endorses” Hillary Clinton in next month’s New Hampshire Democratic primary.

Some New Hampshire voters are not only wavering between candidates within a party but considering choices across a wide ideological spectrum in both major parties. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is investigating a housing rehab project in Framingham after a town employee was fired for awarding contracts to businesses with which he and his family had relationships. (Metrowest Daily News)

Boston’s head of economic development, John Barros, says what General Electric and its employees contribute to the city’s economy will far outweigh the city and state’s contribution to lure the company here. (Keller@Large)

More shakeups at Twitter. (New York Times)

EDUCATION

A Sun editorial says the Lowell School Committee’s vote for PARCC shows the state’s new hybrid standardized test will be MCAS in name only.

Randy Helm, president of Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, has been named interim chancellor at UMass Dartmouth. (Standard-Times)

In his push to raise the cap on charter schools, Gov. Charlie Baker has an ally in House Speaker Robert DeLeo. (Boston Herald) A Herald editorial endorses the cap lift.

Denver may offer Boston some lessons (beyond those shown on the field) in using a unified enrollment system that allows parents to apply for district and charter schools through a single application. (Boston Globe)

Endicott College arms its campus police officers. (Salem News)

The principal at Marblehead High School says he is leaving at the end of the school year, setting the stage for the seventh search process for a new leader in the last decade. (Salem News)

Joyce Ferriabough-Bolling applauds two Boston Latin School students who have raised questions about disturbing racial issues at the schools. (Boston Herald)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello has been in demand around the country pitching his city’s groundbreaking Angel Program that diverts addicts into treatment rather than jail. (New York Times)

Massachusetts, which has one of the lowest rates of uninsured in the country, is trying to push that number lower still. (Boston Globe)

An increasing number of companies looking to reduce insurance costs are threatening employees with termination unless they undergo health screenings and join wellness programs, directives the federal government says violate civil rights and health laws. (New York Times)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA hosts its first public hearing on proposed fare hikes tonight, as the state retailers’ association weighs in with support of the fare increases. (Boston Herald)

Logan Airport’s international terminal is busting at the seams. (Boston Globe)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Anthony Buxton, who advocates for more natural gas pipeline capacity, slams the Conservation Law Foundation for what he says are two contradictory positions. (CommonWealth)

Mashpee officials are mulling a ban on single-use plastic bags, joining seven other Cape towns that bar stores from using them. (Cape Cod Times)

A study for the World Economic Forum says by 2050, there will be more plastic in the world’s oceans than fish. (Washington Post)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Boston police have begun a mediation program to try to more quickly to resolve lower-level complaints filed against officers. (Boston Globe)

Lawrence officials complain that a decades-old consent decree meant to increase the ranks of minorities in the city’s police department is now having the opposite effect. (Boston Globe)