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NYT: Daily News’ Zuckerman Considering Run for Senate

February 12, 2010

Well, well, well… here we go. Looks like the Senate race to replace Gillibrand is heating up:

Could another media mogul be looking to make a splash in New York politics?

Mortimer B. Zuckerman, the real estate tycoon and publisher of The Daily News, is considering a bid for the Senate seat now held by Kirsten E. Gillibrand, according to two people told of the discussions.

Mr. Zuckerman regards Ms. Gillibrand as vulnerable to a challenge and is hoping that, at a time of economic tumult and political unrest, his background as an outsider to government, and his record as a business executive, will appeal to the state’s electorate, these people said.

He would be the latest boldface name to weigh a run for the seat this fall; a former Tennessee congressman, Harold E. Ford Jr., is mulling a primary run against Ms. Gillibrand, a fellow Democrat, and will make a decision in the next few weeks.

The discussions were preliminary, the two people cautioned, with many details of a possible candidacy yet to be worked out. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were meant to be private and Mr. Zuckerman had not made up his mind.

Mr. Zuckerman is considering whether to commission a poll to test the viability of a candidacy, one of the people said.

A Zuckerman spokesman, Ken Frydman, declined to address any discussions that Mr. Zuckerman might have had about a Senate run, or any plans to conduct a poll.

Mr. Frydman said Mr. Zuckerman was unavailable for comment on Friday afternoon, but he added in a statement that the publisher “is not interested in running for public office.”

Mr. Zuckerman, 72, has long sought a national platform. He has cut a wide swath through the media landscape, buying and selling magazines like The Atlantic and writing a regular column for U.S. News & World Report, which he owns.

Though not currently enrolled in a party, he is known as a Democrat. But if he ran for the Senate, it would very likely be as a Republican or independent so he could avoid a costly primary.

As a candidate, Mr. Zuckerman would be following the path of a close friend and fellow media executive, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who switched his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican to run for office.

Mr. Zuckerman, whose fortune is estimated to be about $2 billion, owes most of his wealth to the real estate industry. He co-founded Boston Properties, which owns and manages office buildings in New York and elsewhere, in 1970, and is now chairman of the board. He bought The Daily News in 1993.

If he enters the race, Mr. Zuckerman would quite likely have to relinquish management of the newspaper, one of New York City’s three biggest dailies, much the way Mr. Bloomberg handed over day-to-day control of his company, Bloomberg L.P., when he ran for mayor in 2001.

Mr. Zuckerman is an outspoken supporter of Israel, and over the last few years, he has become a high-profile student of the national economy, raising his visibility through television appearances on shows like “Meet the Press” and in newspaper and magazine opinion articles. He recently attended a White House economic forum.

Mr. Zuckerman, a resident of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, was born in Quebec. He is now an American citizen.



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