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Our present mayor began his political affiliation as a Democrat and changed to a Republican when he first ran for mayor in 2001. By running as a Republican, he received the party nomination without having to go through the Democratic primary.

Earlier this year, with his attention set on a possible presidential run for office, he again changed his party affiliation. This time he left the Republican Party and registered as an independent. Now that he has abandoned the presidential race, and his term-limited office is gradually coming to an end, he has shown indications of wanting to continue in public office in some capacity.

As we look at the possibilities of his running for office in the future, however, his options seem limited.

In order to continue as mayor in a third term, there would have to be a referendum on the city ballot in the fall in which registered voters would have to vote to change the City Charter to allow for city elected officials to run for a third four-year term.

The possibility of Mayor Michael Bloomberg doing something like that would be filled with political risks and would subject him to criticism for trying to overturn the will of the people, who have voted twice to maintain term limits for elected city officials.

The possibility of Bloomberg being chosen by either of the two major presidential candidates as their running mate seems remote, especially since he is not registered with one of the two major political parties.

In terms of running for governor in 2010, Gov. David Paterson has indicated his desire to seek a full term after his present partial term ends. Up to this point, Bloomberg has gotten along well with Paterson.

In addition, the political mechanics as to how it would be possible for Bloomberg to run for governor become very complex. Since he is no longer a Republican Party member, in order to run in a Republican statewide primary election, he would need the state Republican Party Executive Committee's authorization. The only other way he could run is to change his political party affiliation back to Republican.

If he did find a way to compete, the possibility is that he might find himself running in a primary against another former mayor: Rudy Giuliani. Until now, these two mayors seem to have gotten along well, with both being careful not to directly criticize the other. That could change by 2010, however, if they both decide to seek the governorship and confront each other through the election process that year.

As has been mentioned in this column, no mayor during the last 100 years has gone on to higher office, although some have tried and failed. Two high-profile mayors like Bloomberg and Giuliani running against each other would achieve maximum interest in New York and throughout the country.

Aside from the regular political party process, which Bloomberg has shown disdain for since he prefers non-partisan elections, he could run for governor as an independent candidate against the Republican and Democratic candidates.

In terms of third party support, Bloomberg could run into another problem even if he is able to achieve the position of Republican candidate for governor. It is unlikely he would receive Conservative Party endorsement — vitally important to Republican candidates seeking statewide office. It is also not known who the Independence Party would decide to support in this type of election. Its support is also crucial.

In the past, the office of mayor has not been a position leading to higher office. It will be of immense interest in the near future to see if either Bloomberg or Giuliani could break the cycle of mayors failing to achieve higher office. Up until now, none has been successful.

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