Mayor Bloomberg's chief political adviser and the architect of his shadow campaign for president is often credited as the force behind an effort to convince the mayor to extend term limits and run for a third term, but it turns out that this latest drumbeat is coming from New Yorkers outside City Hall.
Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey, who famously fanned the flames of the mayor's public flirtation with a White House bid and promoted him as a vice presidential candidate, told The New York Sun that he is opposed to talk of a third term for the mayor.
"I believe in change," he said yesterday. "Change is good."
Thus far, the third term speculation has been chalked up as another publicity stunt executed by Mr. Sheekey to keep his boss relevant as he nears the end of his second and ostensibly final term at City Hall. Mr. Sheekey's disclosure, however, indicates that this latest effort to promote the mayor's political future may not be quite what it seems to many political observers.
Business leaders have been the most prominent supporters of a third term for the mayor, and it appears that they are acting on their own to promote the idea and convince the mayor to take action. They are personally appealing to Mr. Bloomberg to extend term limits and run for re-election, an idea the mayor says he is "thinking about," a source close to City Hall has said.
Mr. Bloomberg has said publicly that it's not going happen.
A former communications director for the mayor, William Cunningham, said the effort to promote a third term for Mr. Bloomberg doesn't seem to be the work of Mr. Sheekey.
To test the presidential waters, Mr. Bloomberg crisscrossed the country, promoted his national profile by speaking out on the environment, immigration, and gun control, and presented himself as an independent, results-oriented leader. The mayor paid for a nationwide voter analysis and had a system in place to get on the ballot in all 50 states, his colleagues had said. With Mr. Sheekey at the helm, he was laying the groundwork for a national campaign.
"I don't see the skill of his handiwork in this effort," Mr. Cunningham said. "It just doesn't look like the deft touch that Kevin uses."