While the New York City mayor has declined so far to endorse any of the candidates, Republican or Democrat, currently in contention to replace him, that doesn’t mean he’s without his favorites.The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta reports that Bloomberg secretly commissioned a poll earlier this year to gauge support for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, should he have chosen to enter the race.

In early June, the Mayor, according to two Bloomberg advisers, was sympathetic to an effort by some of his supporters to draw Kelly into the race. Bloomberg secretly financed a poll by his own longtime pollster, Douglas Schoen, to help convince Kelly that he could win, but Kelly declined.

Kelly, who has headed the NYPD since 2002, is a close political ally of Bloomberg’s, particularly with regard to the department’s controversial stop-and-frisk program, which was recently crimped by a federal judge who appointed a monitor.

Following the court decision there were reports that the City Council might vote to establish an inspector general post to also oversee stop and frisk.

In May, Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway released polling data that showed Kelly running ahead of a number of Democratic candidates. That poll, also secretly financed, magnified speculation that Kelly might throw his hat in the ring. However, as key deadlines passed by, Kelly stood fast against pressure to run.

Bloomberg has not been shy about courting potential successors in the past. Nor the mayor who switched parties from Democrat to Republican to Independent apparently been overly happy about any of the current leading candidates of any party. In December, the New York Times reported that the mayor had asked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to take the job. He also reportedly even went so far as to urge Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and New York Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman to consider running.