Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is endorsing Republican Gov. Rick Snyder for re-election and Democratic Rep. Gary Peters for the U.S. Senate as part of a $25 million effort to boost what he considers independent-minded candidates.
Bloomberg’s Independence USA political action committee this week launched a $2.3 million TV ad buy on behalf of Snyder, said Stu Loeser, a spokesman for Bloomberg — a Democrat turned Republican turned independent.
Snyder is running against Mark Schauer, the Democratic former congressman from Battle Creek, while Peters is battling former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, a Grand Rapids-area Republican.
Loeser said Bloomberg admires Snyder’s efforts to turn around Michigan’s economy as well as his support for immigration and education reform.
Bloomberg also supports Peters, a Bloomfield Township Democrat, because of his “pretty well-deserved reputation as one of its most independent and moderate leaders” and will “defend his brand of independent leadership” in the U.S. Senate, Loeser said.
Loeser added that the former mayor supported Peters because of his support for women’s reproductive rights and gun safety.
Bloomberg also plans to run ads to aid Peters’ campaign, but his spokesman declined to say how much the media mogul will spend on Peters and when the Senate-related advertising will begin.
Independence USA is political action committee registered with the Federal Election Commission to make independent expenditures for or against a particular candidate.
A male narrator in Independence USA’s ad declares Michigan is “coming back” and that Snyder is “the governor who put partisanship aside, made the hard decisions and delivered results.”
The ad’s narrator also touts “higher graduation rates, more school funding” and more public charter schools under Snyder’s watch.
As mayor of New York, Bloomberg advocated for the expansion of charter schools to infuse competition into the city’s traditional school system.
In 2011, Snyder signed a law that allowed universities to charter more schools in the past three years before lifting Michigan’s cap on charter schools completely in 2015.
Democrat Mark Schauer, who is backed by the state’s two teacher unions, has spoken out against the proliferation of charter schools and said he wants to remove the “profit motive” for management companies that run some schools that get state tax dollars.
Schauer spokeswoman Cathy Bacile Cunningham said Snyder is “turning to a New York billionaire to help cover up” his disputed education spending record.
Bloomberg held a fundraiser for Snyder in June at his New York home, which Democrats have criticized Snyder for attending at the height of legislative road funding negotiations that ultimately stalled in the state Senate after the governor returned to Lansing.
“Now we know why Gov. Snyder skipped out on road funding negotiations this spring to meet behind closed doors with Michael Bloomberg in New York,” Bacile Cunningham said in a statement.
“This is just another reminder that Rick Snyder’s policies work for the wealthy, but not the rest of Michigan.”
Last year, Bloomberg said every U.S. city needs to heed the lesson of Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing and urged cities to diversify their economies.
“Avoiding the hard choices is how Detroit went bankrupt. And it’s the road to ruin for any city,” Bloomberg said.
“I believe that the Detroit experience holds lessons for every American city — and that we have an obligation to protect our future by examining those lessons.”
Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy restructuring in July 2013, citing more than $18.5 billion in debt, the largest American city to file for bankruptcy. About half of its debt is pension and retiree health care costs.
The Big Apple nearly went bankrupt in 1975 with $14 billion in debt with a deficit of about $2.2 billion, but won a reprieve when Congress and President Gerald Ford approved $2.3 billion in short-term loans and required dramatic fiscal restructuring to get the city's books in order.