Weirdest election-related twist in a slow, pre-convention week: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be on the ballot as a presidential candidate ... in Virginia ... with Ron Paul as his running mate ... nominated by a party that describes its members as "happy hillbillies":
On Friday, under the radar, the Independent Green Party of Virginia successfully gathered enough signatures to put New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's name on the presidential ballot. They did it all without the mayor's knowledge or consent. Moreover, they wrote in as his number two Texas Rep. Ron Paul ...
"Indy Greens started the presidential petition drive on January 1, 2008 in Independence, Virginia," explained Carey Campbell, chairman of the party. "Eight months, 15 days later, the cake is baked. The deed is done. We're happy hillbillies. Since January 1st, Indy Greens collected 70,000 petition signatures. Seven successful petition drives to put five candidates on the ballot for U.S. House, and 2 statewide petition drives... and now Michael Bloomberg on ballot for president. We made a promise to Mr. Bloomberg, and now we have kept that promise." Virginia state law requires that a candidate receive 10,000 signatures of qualified voters, including 400 in each of the state's 11 congressional districts, in order to gain access to the presidential ballot. The Indy Greens, over the course of many months, collected far more than the minimum.
According to Ben Smith, Mayor Bloomberg has the option to put the kibosh on this, but is considering letting it go forward. That seems like a questionable move to me. Does he really want to be ginning up a) angst from both major campaigns, who could fear he would siphon off their votes, and b) lots of gleefully colorful stories in the press about how his new base of support consists of the guys who flew the Ron Paul blimp?
P.S. A colleague points out that the Bloomberg/Paul combo is particularly nutty because Bloomberg likes to do things like ban trans fats, the sort of vaguely-nanny-state-style move that drives Ron Paul supporters bonkers.