Bloomberg lays the groundwork for New York City mayoral bid

NEW YORK: Billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg is putting together a New York mayoral campaign team and is expected to announce his candidacy.

NEW YORK: Billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg is putting together a New York mayoral campaign team and is expected to announce his candidacy by the end of the month.

Bloomberg has already tapped Washington, DC polling firm Penn & Shoen, which worked on Hillary Clinton's winning Senate campaign.

He is also gearing up for a slew of press interviews in the next few weeks, following The New York Times story on January 18 in which he outlined his plans.

While Bloomberg corporate PR chief Chris Taylor has been managing Bloomberg's personal publicity for some years, inside sources confirm Bloomberg has sounded out a number of campaign candidates, including consultant Lisa Dewald, who worked as press secretary under former Sen. Al D'Amato, and Billy Cunningham, a senior advisor to former Sen. Patrick Moynihan.

Kevin Sheekey, a top government affairs exec at Bloomberg, is likely to be named chief strategist. Zenia Mucha, departing as New York Governor George Pataki's senior policy advisor, had to turn down a top position because of her new post as SVP communications at ABC, starting this week.

Maureen Connelly, once a press secretary to former Mayor Ed Koch, is providing Bloomberg with position papers. Bloomberg's campaign has already been criticized for his defection from the Democratic Party to the GOP three months ago.

However, a senior source said that although he had an affinity with GOP values, he'd be running as an independent.

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