For a guy who dropped his Republican registration three years ago and insists he’s above petty partisan politics, Mike Bloomberg seems to have staked an awfully large claim in the battle over leadership of the city’s largest GOP organization.
As the Post‘s David Seifman reports, Bloomberg made a late November donation of $120,000 to a new political committee that is targeting current Queens county Republican chairman Phil Ragusa who balked at endorsing Bloomberg last year.
The six-figure Bloomberg gift is a mere tuppence to the man who just spent $108 million for his four percent reelection victory. But in a small-scale political battle, it’s major bucks. “Are you sure you have the decimal point right?” a credulous Queens political insider asked Seifman. He did. The First New Yorker’s check went to something called the 28th Assembly District Republican Committee, which was launched last fall by John Haggerty, Jr., a perennial Queens Republican challenger who is long been at odds with Ragusa and other Queens GOP officials.
Other than a token $20 from Haggerty, Bloomberg was the new committee’s sole donor, campaign records show. Haggerty was a steady presence in Bloomberg’s mayoral campaign, even though he is not listed as a paid political aide to the mayor. A brother, Bart Haggerty, was paid $2,000 a week to work on the campaign -pulling in a total of $77,000 – but also found time to wage his own successful run for the GOP district leadership post in the 28th A.D.
Current GOP leader Ragusa was openly resistant to giving his party’s line to the mayor last year, though he later went along with the program. So payback is one explanation for the donation. Another may be that even though the mayor swears he’s won’t seek a fourth term in office, he’s keeping his own political options open.