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Bloomberg Says Independent Candidate Can't Win Contest for U.S. Presidency

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been mentioned as a potential U.S. presidential candidate, said he doesn’t believe an independent can win.

Bloomberg, who isn’t affiliated with Republicans or Democrats, said a candidate running outside the two-party system couldn’t get a majority of the 538 votes in the Electoral College, which would trigger a provision in the U.S. Constitution giving the House of Representatives power to decide the election.

“Unless you get a majority, it goes to the House,” he said today during a conference sponsored by the Wall Street Journal in Washington. “It’s going to go to the Republicans because the Republicans have just taken over the House.”

Republicans gained at least 60 House seats in the Nov. 2 election, enabling the party to seize a majority in the chamber in January.

Bloomberg, 68, the billionaire founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, has on several occasions denied he intends to run for president in 2012. Several commentators, including David Gregory of NBC News, speculated that he might be among the possible candidates.

In 2007 he conducted polling and traveled around the U.S. to test the potential for a self-financed run, before abandoning the effort the next year.

Three Terms

Bloomberg has served as mayor since 2002. He spent $108.4 million on his self-financed 2009 campaign for a third term, which ends in December 2013. He ran on the Republican and Independence Party lines in that contest.

“Party affiliation is so strong with enough people that the Republicans and Democrats -- no matter who their candidates were, no matter who voted -- would get enough votes that you could get every independent vote, it would still not be a majority,” he said.

Bloomberg was in Washington to meet with senators. He is seeking to persuade them to vote for passage of a $7.4 billion bill that would provide health care for police, firefighters and volunteers who became ill after working at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. The House has already passed the measure.

In 1992, Ross Perot won 19 percent of the popular vote in his independent bid for the presidency against Republican George H. W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton. He didn’t win a single electoral vote.

To contact the reporters on this story: William Selway at wselway@bloomberg.net; Henry Goldman in New York at hgoldman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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