Billionaire Bloomberg bails out Booker

BIG FRIENDS: This ad for New Jersey U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker was paid for by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Super PAC.

BIG FRIENDS: This ad for New Jersey U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker was paid for by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Super PAC.

By Yaël Ossowski |

NEWARK, N.J. — A large cornerstone of Newark Mayor Cory Booker‘s campaign centers on his ability to attract millions in outside investment to his city, but now it seems the same logic can be applied to his fledgling U.S. Senate campaign.

Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City.

Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City.

In the final week of the New Jersey race against former Bogota mayor and conservative activist Steve Lonegan, Booker has received some substantial financial help from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — $1 million worth, to be exact.

This boost in funding by the big-city mayor next door will help bail out Booker, who saw his lead dwarf from 30 percentage points to 12 in just two weeks, and could be less than 3 percent if Lonegan’s internal polls are to be believed.

Though Booker was declared the early favorite by most political observers, this significant investment from Bloomberg demonstrates the race is far from a sure thing.

The funds are to come from Bloomber’s Super PAC Independence USA, created in part to support federal candidates across the country who are willing to “crack down on illegal guns and reform education policy,” according to the website. The group will run ads across the state to support Booker’s Senate campaign, emphasizing his push to crack down on guns and boost education spending.

True to that reputation, the first pro-Booker ad released by Independence USA paints a glowing portrait of the Newark mayor aiming for a seat in the U.S. Senate:

“In a divided Washington, a senator to get things done,” boasts the announcer. “As mayor, he brought together Republicans, the private sector and community leaders to reform Newark’s public schools. (He’s) worked with the business community to bring over $1 billion in new investments and jobs.”

In true Bloomberg fashion, the ad praises Booker for his commitment on gun reform.


Bloomber’s ad supporting Booker plays up his efforts to bring in private sector investment.

“A leader in Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Booker’s taken on the NRA and will fight for background checks and to get illegal guns off our streets,” the ad claims.

Booker is the first candidate to be supported by the Bloomberg in almost a year, who has so far focused the PAC’s money on defeating candidates against gun control.

In 2012, the PAC spent $1.4 million to defeat former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, a pro-gun Illinois Democrat redistricted to face U.S. Jesse Jackson Jr., who won the primary and seat handily despite heavily publicized mental and health problems that kept him away from the district during most of the campaign. He later resigned his seat after his problems surfaced.

This year, Bloomberg so far has given $2 million to his Super PAC Independence USA, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group tracking political spending.

That sum will beef up the fund in preparation for targeting congressional candidates opposed to gun control in the 2014 midterms.

Contact Yaël Ossowski at and follow him @YaelOss.

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