NY Times has the scoop:

WASHINGTON, June 20 � The announcement by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York that he was leaving the Republican Party to become an independent was made after nearly two years in which his aides had laid the groundwork for a potential independent run for president.

They collected technical data on the requirements to put Mr. Bloomberg on the ballot in 50 states either as a third party or an independent candidate. Mr. Bloomberg went to Washington for a round of meetings with opinion leaders and traveled the country giving political speeches, including two this week in California.

And Mr. Bloomberg told associates that he was closely studying the 1992 presidential campaign of H. Ross Perot, the wealthy Texan and friend who drew 19 percent of the vote as an independent, to figure out how much a race in 2008 would cost.

What do you think Joe Trippi?

“Is it possible?� asked Joe Trippi, who managed Howard Dean’s campaign in 2004 and is now a senior adviser to John Edwards’s campaign. “Yes, I think it is. The hardest thing is making sure you are on the ballot, and he has the resources to do it. The threat of him being in and being a real actor is real, and you have to take that seriously.�

And yes, another mention of Unity08…

Republican and Democrat activists this year created an organization, Unity08, to raise money to obtain a ballot line in the 50 states, removing the biggest hindrance to such a campaign, with the intention of nominating a candidate with an Internet vote by its members.

An organizer of the effort, Gerald Rafshoon, a longtime Democratic consultant, said Mr. Bloomberg had caught his eye.

“He’s certainly speaking our language,� Mr. Rafshoon said.

The stars haven’t aligned this perfectly for a 3rd party run since I can remember.

Don’t take this opportunity lightly Michael. It may be the only one you’ll ever get.

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