Businessman Michael Bloomberg has spent a lifetime building his fortune and a political career that peaked with his election as mayor of New York City.
Now, according to reports, the media executive has a new goal in mind for 2016. Bloomberg could be planning to spend a fortune to stop his rival – GOP frontrunner Donald Trump – from reaching the White House.
According to multiple sources, Bloomberg is taking early steps toward launching an independent campaign for president, seeing a potential path to the White House amid the rise of Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders.
Bloomberg, who served three terms as mayor of New York, is said to be concerned by Trump’s lasting hold on the Republican field .
A longtime Democrat who became a Republican to run for mayor in 2001 and later switched to be an independent, Bloomberg would strongly consider a bid if the general election looked like it could turn for Trump.
To prepare for a potential run, Bloomberg has also instructed aides to research previous third-party runs and is said to be willing to spend up to $1 billion of his own fortune, estimated to be about $37 billion, to finance his campaign.
Bloomberg, 73, strongly disagrees with Trump’s political positions, particularly his stance on immigration, the person said.
One of the richest people in the United States, Bloomberg has previously toyed with presidential runs, but concluded ahead of the 2008 and 2012 campaigns he could not win. And while Bloomberg’s chances of victory as a third-party candidate remain slim, he could siphon off enough votes from candidates to throw the election into disarray.
The former mayor is largely a social liberal — he fought for same-sex marriage in New York and is pro-abortion rights — and implemented a number of health reforms in New York City, banning smoking in public places and instituting calorie counts on menus.
He has also became arguably the nation’s most vocal proponent of gun control, using his fortune to bankroll candidates across the country who clash with the National Rifle Association.
The Associated Press contributed to this article