Real estate billionaire and Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman has reportedly been contacting state Republican leaders in an effort to win their backing as he plots a possible Senate campaign. Zuckerman, 72, is not registered with a party in New York, and he would need the approval of the state's GOP committee in order to run on the Republican line against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

According to the Times, the Quebec native spoke with former Gov. George Pataki—who reportedly holds the publisher "in very high regard"—and asked his advice about running as a Republican. He also met with state Republican party chairman Edward Cox. It's unclear whether or not he'll win the support of the party, though the Boston Properties founder has oddly earned the preliminary backing of his tabloid's bitter rival, the New York Post.

Just like possible Gillibrand challenger Harold Ford Jr., Zuckerman reportedly believes that the Paterson appointee is beatable. According to the Times, he thinks "voter unrest has given the Republicans a rare chance of retaking a Senate seat in New York."