Michael Bloomberg held a fund-raiser last night for Democratic City Councilman James Sanders of Queens, according to campaign sources. The event, I was told, took place at Bloomberg's townhouse.
Sanders is a natural choice for Bloomberg to back. The councilman voted to support the term-limits extension and was the only Council member to abstain on an amendment that would have required the measure to go through a public referendum. The amendment failed to get a majority.
Sanders had not raised any money for his re-election before last night.
The fund-raiser is the not the first time Bloomberg lent his presence to a Democratic City Council member who supported the term-limits change. On March 19, Bloomberg stopped by the fund-raiser of City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr..
Last night's event is also a sign of Sanders' return to the inner power-circle at City Hall. After winning re-election in 2005, he lost his committee chairmanship, making him one of the few Democratic Council members without such a perk. Also, he failed to get the backing of the Queens Democratic Party when he was up for re-election against local resident David Hooks Jr.the same year.
At the time, the Queens County Democratic organization members said they were swayed by local district leaders who complained Sanders was aloof and not responsive to their needs. In interviews, Sanders admitted he may have focused a bit too much attention on his responsibilities in City Hall, rather than in his district.
A spokesman at Sanders office in Queens said they would respond shortly with a comment.