AP Photo/Rick Scuteri
Pennsylvania voters won’t choose their pick for the Democratic nomination for president until the end of April, but billionaire Michael Bloomberg is already making a play for the state by courting several high profile political figures.
The New York Postactively seeking reports that Bloomberg has brought former Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter on as his national campaign manager, and is the endorsement of Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto.
The backing of the top Democrat in the heart of the old coal and steel region of western Pennsylvania would be a coup and potentially hurt former Vice President Joe Biden, a Scranton native and front-runner in national polls.
Like Bloomberg, Peduto is a big climate change activist.
In fact, Bloomberg Philanthropies bankrolled the movie “Paris to Pittsburgh” that featured Peduto, who tweeted that Pittsburgh would abide by the Paris climate accord after President Trump withdrew the US from it in June of 2017.
The Post focuses on the shared focus on climate change policies between the two men, but there’s another connection as well. The city of Pittsburgh is facing a lawsuit after Mayor Peduto signed several local gun control bills into law, violating the state’s firearm’s preemption law that leaves state legislators in charge of a uniform firearms standard across the state. Guess who’s representing the city free of charge?
Everytown for Gun Safety announced today that Everytown Law will serve as co-counsel with the Pittsburgh City Solicitor’s Office in defending the City of Pittsburgh in any litigation resulting from the city’s passage of gun safety measures. Everytown Law is the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund.
“Everytown is proud to stand with the City of Pittsburgh as it acts to prevent future gun violence after the horrific massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue,”said Eric Tirschwell, litigation director for Everytown for Gun Safety. “We welcome the opportunity to provide our pro bono legal services and expertise to defend the City if and when any lawsuits are filed.”
Everytown’s press release was issued back in April, and the Bloomberg-backed gun control group has been involved in defending Pittsburgh’s local ordinances ever since.
Peduto also honored Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack for his gun control efforts earlier this year. Stack is not only the anti-gun head of the Pittsburgh-based sporting good chain, but is also a close friend of Bloomberg.
In other words, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Bill Peduto officially endorse Michael Bloomberg’s presidential bid in the near future. Given the amount of money and support that Bloomberg and his gun control groups have provided to the mayor, it seems like a no-brainer, honestly. Of course, if and when Peduto’s endorsement officially happens, critics of Bloomberg will claim that the billionaire is simply buying his endorsements, and they’ll have some pretty strong evidence to back it up.
Bloomberg’s already tried to rebut criticism from Democrats like Elizabeth Warren that he’s attempting to buy the nomination. Every time he gets an endorsement from someone who’s benefitted from the billionaire’s anti-gun largesse, it just adds to the perception that the support he’s receiving is simply a quid pro quo from grateful politicians dependent on his vast reserves of cash.