If Michael Bloomberg had his way, the campaign to name his successor might look very different.
While the New York City mayor has declined so far to endorse any of the candidates, Republican or Democrat, currently in contention to replace him, that doesn't mean he's without his favorites. The New Yorker's Ken Auletta reports that Bloomberg secretly commissioned a poll earlier this year to gauge support for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, should he have chosen to enter the race:
In early June, the Mayor, according to two Bloomberg advisers, was sympathetic to an effort by some of his supporters to draw Ray Kelly into the race. Bloomberg secretly financed a poll by his own longtime pollster, Douglas Schoen, to help convince Kelly that he could win, but Kelly declined.
Kelly, who has helmed the NYPD since 2002, is a close political ally of Bloomberg's, particularly with regard to the department's controversial stop-and-frisk program.
In May, Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway released polling data that showed Kelly running ahead of a number of Democratic candidates. That poll, which was also secretly financed, magnified speculation that Kelly might throw his hat in the ring. However, as key deadlines passed by, Kelly stood fast against pressure to run.
Bloomberg has not been shy about courting potential successors in the past. In December, the New York Times reported that the mayor had asked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to take the job. He also reportedly urged Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and New York Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman to consider running.
Recent polls show Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in a tight race for the Democratic nomination, followed by former Comptroller Bill Thompson. In the Republican field, former MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota leads supermarket magnate John Catismiditis in recent polling.
According to unnamed aides, Bloomberg could conceivably endorse Lhota for mayor, should a progressive candidate such as de Blasio emerge as the Democratic nominee, the New Yorker's Ken Auletta reports.