Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made a huge -- some say politically surprising - promise.
Bloomberg, a Republican who owns an estate in North Salem, has pledged to donate $80 million to help flip the U.S. House majority in favor of Democrats.
Bloomberg also says he will support governors in November -- regardless of their political party -- who share his positions on gun control, climate change, education and other polarizing issues that he thinks are dividing the nation and causing legislative gridlock.
In this statement issued on Wednesday, June 20, Bloomberg wrote: "I’ve never much liked political parties. I’ve always believed that we should put country before party. Too many politicians practice the reverse, with terrible consequences for the American people."
"Over the years, I have supported candidates in both parties who were willing to break with partisanship and the special interests and seek common ground around solutions to make America better.
"I’ve focused my philanthropy partly around bipartisan gun safety, environmental and immigration reform measures, and my political giving has been focused around those priorities as well," Bloomberg said.
In the last election, for example, Bloomberg said he spent nearly $10 million to help Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey get re-elected: "I disagree with him on many issues. But after the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, he broke with the NRA and co-wrote a bipartisan bill to close the background check loophole."
At the same time, Bloomberg spent about the same amount to help elect a Democrat in New Hampshire -- Maggie Hassan -- who was running to defeat a Republican incumbent who voted against Toomey’s bill.
"This year, I'm supporting both Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates who have shown strong leadership on gun safety, the environment, education, and other critical issues facing the country," Bloomberg said.
"I've never thought that the public is well-served when one party is entirely out of power, and I think the past year and a half has been evidence of that," Bloomberg said.
Republicans, who control both houses of Congress, have done little to reach across the aisle to craft bipartisan solutions – not only on guns and climate change, but also on jobs, immigration, health care and infrastructure, Bloomberg said, adding, "As a result, Congress has accomplished very little."
"Republicans in Congress have had almost two years to prove they could govern responsibly. They failed," Bloomberg said. "And so this fall, I'm going to support Democrats in their efforts to win control of the House."
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