Billionaire George Soros has thrown his support behind New York City mayoral candidate and Bloomberg antagonist Bill de Blasio. Soros and de Blasio are both vehemently against Bloomberg’s controversial stop-and-frisk police policy, and they share an interest in a plan that would tax the city’s wealthiest to create universal pre-kindergarten and after-school programs for middle school students. Bloomberg News reports:
“New York’s next mayor needs to possess conviction, intelligence, and a clear vision for where they want to take the city,” Soros said in a news release distributed by de Blasio’s campaign. “Bill de Blasio possesses these qualities.”
As a hard-line Democrat, de Blasio could probably use some votes from the other side, votes that Soros’ backing may not be able to provide. Soros, who was vocal about his opposition to George W. Bush, has repeatedly been a conservative scapegoat. In 2004, he was accused of earning his money from drug cartels. In 2005, Republicans threatened to revoke the Washington Nationals antitrust exemption if Soros was involved in a group purchase of the baseball team. In 2010, some claimed that he owned the globally conscious Tides organization (his Open Society Institute is one of many funders), and was using it pursue “a nefarious agenda to destroy America.” He isn’t the most popular guy at the NRA brunch.
De Blasio is second in the polls to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who just nabbed Gloria Steinem’s endorsement. We’ll see what Soros’ support can do for de Blasio in the September 10 Democratic primary election.