Now that Harold Ford Jr. is out of the Senate race, attention has turned to another speculative candidate—Daily News publisher and real estate billionaire Mort Zuckerman. According to Politico, the possible Republican and Independent candidate has a lot of things going for him, including a personal fortune and a media empire at his bidding. But the 72-year-old could run into trouble because he's also known for breaking up unions and eliminating pensions at the Daily News, and raising a baby but refusing to disclose the identity of the child's mother.
Though Ford claims he dropped out because he didn't want the Democratic Party to go through a vicious primary, insiders say he bailed because "a lot of donors were telling [Ford] that if Mort ran, they would be with Mort." Democrats fought hard to keep Ford off the ballot, and it's unclear how they'll combat Zuckerman considering that Republicans are pushing hard to retake the Senate. Zuckerman doesn't belong to any political party, but if he runs as a Republican he promised to caucus with the GOP. According to Politico, the Boston Properties founder "would be a candidate in the Bloomberg model," but once in office, his political writings "would probably qualify him as a Democrat in the Joe Lieberman mode."
Friends say Zuckerman "has always wanted to be in the political mix," but running "would breach all of his privacy." That means voters should expect lots of coverage of Zuckerman's romantic life, which has reportedly included relationships with Arianna Huffington, Nora Ephron, Gloria Steinem and Diane von Furstenberg. Questions arose about his love-life following a 2008 announcement in the Daily News that congratulated him for his daughter's birth, but didn't mention the baby's mother. Visitors at Zuckerman's apartment say a "baby is often present but ... it's considered impolite to inquire about the baby's provenance." When asked about the child's mother, Zuckerman's spokesman stated: "Those are obnoxious questions ... So I'm not gonna ask him to answer them."