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Michael Bloomberg pledges $80 million for midterms to help Democrats retake control of House

Michael Bloomberg pledges $80 million for midterms to help Democrats retake control of House
Michael Bloomberg at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Michael Bloomberg, the wealthy former mayor of New York, plans to spend at least $80 million in the 2018 midterm election cycle, largely to support Democratic efforts to regain the majority in the House, aides said Wednesday.

Bloomberg, a political independent, is poised to become the single biggest benefactor of the Democrats in the fight for control of the House and one of the most powerful billionaire financiers in the midterms.

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In a statement, Bloomberg expressed frustration with inaction in Congress under Republican leadership and said he believes a divided government would be more effective at reaching bipartisan solutions to issues such as gun safety, climate change, immigration and more.

"I've never thought that the public is well served when one party is entirely out of power, and I think the past year and a half has been evidence of that," Bloomberg's statement said.

Howard Wolfson, a Democratic political strategist and close Bloomberg aide, confirmed to the Washington Post he will oversee the $80-million spending effort. Wolfson's involvement and the spending plan were first reported by the New York Times.

Bloomberg's statement said he would continue to support gubernatorial candidates from both parties who align with him on gun safety, environment, education and other issues. But when it comes to House races, he will throw his weight behind Democratic candidates.

"Republicans in Congress have had almost two years to prove they could govern responsibly. They failed," Bloomberg's statement said.

He added that he has "plenty of disagreements with some Democrats, especially those who seek to make this election about impeachment" of President Trump. He called those efforts "irresponsible."

Bloomberg did not specify which House races he plans to target.

The top donor so far to super PACs supporting liberal causes and campaigns is Tom Steyer, a San Francisco-based former hedge fund founder who has poured at least $29 million into the midterm cycle so far, the Post's analysis shows. Steyer is also funding an impeachment campaign.

Bloomberg spent $20.1 million on the 2016 elections, focusing his contributions on his own super PAC — Independence USA — which supported both Democratic and Republican candidates.

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