Mayor Bloomberg has begun reaching out to city Republican leaders to gauge whether he could run on the GOP line in his re-election bid this year
Mayor Bloomberg has begun reaching out to city Republican leaders to gauge whether he could run on the GOP line in his re-election bid this year, several sources told The Post.
The maneuvering began in the past two weeks, and sources said the mayor is expected to try to run on a major-party as well as a third-party line, likely one of his own creation.
Several sources said Bloomberg's political aides have started reaching out to GOP chairs in the five boroughs, including Manhattan's Jennifer Saul.
"I've heard from Republican leaders he's been making phone calls," said Gristedes supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis, who for months has been campaigning for the GOP nomination for months.
Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat who joined the Republican Party for his first mayoral bid in 2001 but then abandoned it in 2007, must mend fences if he wants to secure the Republican line, several sources said.
"A lot of them [GOP leaders] told me they will not carry petitions for Mayor Bloomberg," said one source. "They feel he bought us and sold us."
At the same time, the source added, "Let's be real. He's got $20 billion."
Despite recent friction, many insiders privately say Bloomberg is likely to get the GOP ballot line this year without much fighting.
Some Republicans are upset he did not endorse presidential candidate John McCain, an early backer of the mayor in 2001.
Other GOPers criticized Bloomberg's recent 7 percent property-tax increase and his stall in sending out homeowner tax-rebate checks last year.
"If there's a credible Republican that's running, I'd have to support that person first, and if the mayor wanted to re-register as a Republican, I might think of it," said Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa, who has not been contacted by Bloomberg's team.
"In fact, I have the forms if he wants to reregister as a Republican."
Bloomberg would need permission of three of five GOP county leaders to run as a Republican.
Several insiders believe that speculation that he also might try to snag the Democratic line is fading.
"He's done some damage to himself. It seems as though basic politics was forgotten about," said former Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari.
He said GOP leaders should strategize how to get appointments in Bloomberg's potential third administration and "not just give it to him, as we have in the past."
Another GOP official criticized the mayor, saying, "Everybody supported him the second time, and then he had very little in the way of Republicans in government and then no policy that's remotely Republican."
Howard Wolfson, a Democrat working on Bloomberg's re-election effort, declined comment.