The 2016 presidential field could get a little more crowded.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering launching a third-party bid for the White House, NBC News confirmed Saturday. Bloomberg would likely only run if either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz was the Republican nominee and Bernie Sanders the Democratic nominee, according to a source familiar with Bloomberg’s thinking.
The New York Times first reported news of Bloomberg’s potential campaign. Bloomberg, who amassed great wealth from his eponymous financial services company, is willing to spend a whopping $1 billion on a campaign, according to the report. He has reportedly set a deadline to decide on a campaign for March, making the results of the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses important for the former mayor. A Hillary Clinton win in Iowa would stymie Sanders’ prospects for the nomination.
Bloomberg reportedly commissioned a poll late last year to gauge interest in a potential run. According to the Times, he would commission another poll after the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary to determine whether he could launch a viable campaign in 2016.
Bloomberg told NBC News’ Chuck Todd in October that he was “very flattered” people would ask him about running for president, but he didn’t tip his hand on a decision. “The truth of the matter is I’m very happy doing two things: running my company and working with the United Nations and with the U.S. government on climate change,” Bloomberg said in a joint interview with Secretary of State John Kerry.
If he were to run, Bloomberg would join a crowded field. Trump and Cruz have dominated the conversation on the Republican side, and the two candidates are duking it out as the first nominating contests near. Many establishment Republican figures have come out against Cruz, whose divisive political tactics have irked some on the right.
On the Democratic side, the race is unexpectedly close between Clinton and Sanders. Clinton entered the race as the prohibitive front-runner, but Sanders has proved competitive in Iowa and New Hampshire, as the Vermont independent senator has attracted big crowds at his rallies.
The source told NBC News that Bloomberg – who has mulled a White House bid in the past – would like to be president, but he doesn’t want to launch a campaign if there’s no foreseeable path to victory.
NBC News’ Mark Murray contributed to this article.