New York City’s former mayor billionaire Michael Bloomberg seeks to participate in America’s November presidential election as an independent candidate, a report says.
According to the New York Times, the mogul has told his aides to draw up plans for an independent campaign for the US.
Bloomberg has advised friends and associates that he would be willing to spend at least $1 billion of his own money on a campaign for the November 2016 election, the Times said, citing sources briefed on the former mayor's thinking.
The 73-year-old magnate has given himself an early March deadline for entering the race after commissioning a poll in December to see how he would fare against Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Democrat favorite Hillary Clinton.
No independent has ever won a US presidential election, but Bloomberg, who has close Wall Street ties and liberal social views, sees an opening for his candidacy if Republicans nominate Trump or Texas Senator Ted Cruz and the Democrats nominate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the Times said.
Bloomberg served as mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013. He switched his party affiliation from Republican to independent in 2007 and in recent yearshas spent millions on national campaigns to tighten US gun laws and reform immigration.
One anonymous Bloomberg adviser told the Times the former mayor believes voters want “a non-ideological, bipartisan, results-oriented vision” that has not been offered in the 2016 election cycle by either political party.
Though no third-party candidate has ever claimed the White House, several previous bids have affected the overall makeup of the race. In 1992, Texas businessman Ross Perot ran as an independent, a decision that some believe helped Democrat Bill Clinton defeat incumbent Republican George H. W. Bush.
Part of Bloomberg's motivation to enter the race stems from a frustration with Clinton's campaign, the Times reported.
Clinton has been dogged by questions about her honesty amid an ongoing investigation into her use of a private email server as secretary of state.