Amid speculation that Mayor Bloomberg is contemplating a run for president, a supporter in California is amassing a network of entrepreneurs who could leap to his aid should he launch a campaign.
A technology entrepreneur of Tiburon, Calif., Jon Fisher, said he has held meetings with more than 100 executives and entrepreneurs during the past few months to gauge support for a Bloomberg bid and prepare a team to assist the possible campaign.
The prospect of Mr. Bloomberg mounting a presidential campaign is inspiring entrepreneurs who are enamored by the idea of a like-minded person landing in the White House, and is opening the door for a transformative national campaign that would harness their business development skills and drive, Mr. Fisher said.
"We are connecting the dots and the infrastructure, if you will, to be prepared to move much more quickly than an ordinary campaign," Mr. Fisher said in a telephone interview with The New York Sun yesterday.
He said one of the first tasks his team could assist with would be ensuring that Mr. Bloomberg is on the ballot in all 50 states.
"There are people I am working with and others that would go about this in a hyperaggressive, high-tech fashion," he said. Mr. Fisher added that he and other entrepreneurs could assist with campaign operations and marketing efforts.
Mr. Fisher founded a security software company, Bharosa, and sold it in July to Oracle Corp., making more than 100 times his original investment in the company, he said. He has been meeting with business leaders who have either founded their own companies or are chief executives. Most of them work in the technology sector, he said.
Mr. Fisher is planning more meetings with business executives and entrepreneurs in the coming weeks. Most of the business leaders he is meeting with have headquarters in the Bay Area.
Before running for mayor, Mr. Bloomberg founded an international financial services and data company, Bloomberg LP, which Mr. Fisher said he admires. He said he considers the company a key platform for the mayor to use to improve American diplomacy and tackle economic problems because it has worldwide credibility.
While momentum for a possible Bloomberg campaign has dissipated in recent days with the emergence of Senator McCain as the Republican front-runner, Mr. Fisher said he is not abandoning his efforts.
"I think the chances are that he will not run right now," Mr. Fisher said. "But that doesn't mean that I don't have the time or inclination to stand at the ready."
A venture capitalist who is conducting nationwide voter analysis for the mayor, James Robinson IV, has said he thinks Mr. Bloomberg could win the White House even though Mr. McCain is at the front of the Republican pack.
A supporter of Mr. Bloomberg who owns a mobile billboard company, Lenny Sobel, will be driving through Manhattan this week with a truck-size sign that says "Support Mike Bloomberg for president" and calls him "the only presidential candidate that can't be bought," the Associated Press reported. Mr. Sobel told the AP that Mr. Bloomberg's wealth means he is not beholden to special interests.
Mr. Bloomberg has repeatedly denied that he is a candidate for president, although his busy travel schedule and speeches on issues of national importance, such as immigration and the environment, are widely seen as signs he is laying the groundwork for a possible campaign.
On Thursday, Mr. Bloomberg made headlines when he tacked a few extra words on to his standard denial line, saying he is not a candidate and that he'll "stay that way." Several published reports honed in on the comment as a sign that Mr. Bloomberg's presidential flirtation was over. Some political observers, however, said yesterday such an assessment would be premature.
A professor of public administration at Columbia University, Steven Cohen, said that although he has never thought Mr. Bloomberg would run for president, making a final determination about his plans could occur only after "Super Tuesday," when New York and 21 other states hold presidential primaries.
"We've never had a primary like the one we are going to see in American history," he said. "We really don't know who is going to come out of that."
A spokesman for the mayor declined to comment.