NYC Mayor Active in Fundraising for Lieberman

If Sen. Joe Lieberman wins a fourth term on Nov. 7, it's a safe bet New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be high on his thank-you list.

Bloomberg, a Republican who shares Lieberman's independent streak, is playing a prominent role helping to raise money for the Democratic senator, the Lieberman campaign said Saturday.

The mayor has also dispatched several campaign operatives to Connecticut to help Lieberman reach GOP and independent voters as the race closes. Lieberman is running as an independent after losing to wealthy businessman Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary.

"The mayor has been extremely generous personally in being willing to help us raise money," Lieberman spokesman Dan Gerstein said.

Bloomberg appeared at a major Chicago fundraising event for Lieberman recently. He will campaign with Lieberman on Monday in Stamford, greeting commuters and formally endorsing him. Bloomberg will also host a fundraiser next week at his home, Gerstein said.

Bloomberg operatives are helping to build Lieberman's get-out-the-vote effort, which is targeting a mix of Democratic, Republican and independent supporters.

Because of Lieberman's independent status, he cannot rely on his party's organization to help him identify voters and get them to the polls.

"We're leveraging the very relevant experience of the Bloomberg operation to help us in what can charitably be described as a unique situation," said Gerstein.

The Bloomberg team has valuable experience identifying such voters in New York City, which is considered Democratic turf, said Gerstein.

"They have a fine-tuned understanding of how to reach across party lines," said Gerstein. "Mayor Bloomberg is a very independent-minded leader with broad appeal who was operating in a very Democratic electorate."

Bloomberg also is backing Connecticut Republicans Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Rep. Christopher Shays, who is locked in a tough re-election fight.

Lamont, who founded a cable television company, has put more than $14 million of his family's money into his campaign, including a $2 million loan he made to the campaign on Friday, his campaign confirmed.

Lieberman enjoys a double-digit lead in the latest statewide polls. Republican Alan Schlesinger trails far behind in the polls.