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New York City's Bloomberg pledges at least $10 million for moderate candidates

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City's billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said on Tuesday he would commit at least $10 million ahead of the November 6 election to support moderate candidates who share his support for gun control, same-sex marriage and education reform.

The funds will go to support "nonpartisan leadership," Bloomberg said in an announcement posted on his website. The money includes a $250,000 contribution to Marylanders for Equality, which is coordinating a support for a ballot initiative that could legalize same-sex marriage.

"It's critically important that we have elected officials in Washington, Albany, and around the nation who are willing to work across party lines to achieve real results," Bloomberg said.

"I've always believed in the need for more independent leadership, and this new effort will support candidates and causes that will help protect Americans from the scourge of gun violence, improve our schools, and advance our freedoms," he said.

Bloomberg was first elected mayor in 2001 as a Republican, and later dropped his affiliation. He has said he has no plans to seek a fourth term next year.

The mayor, who amassed a fortune as founder of financial news and information company Bloomberg LP, has frequently waded into national issues. In 2006, he launched Mayors Against Illegal Guns and has been the group's major funder.

Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, who worked on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 2008 unsuccessful bid in 2008 for the Democratic presidential nomination, will oversee the "election-related campaign activities," the announcement said.

(Reporting By Edith Honan; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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