Finally, Tonko for Gillibrand

ALBANY—Representative Paul Tonko has endorsed Kirsten Gillibrand’s election bid next year.

A formal announcement is expected today from the Gillibrand campaign, but Tonko publicly declared his support for Gillibrand at a fund-raiser this weekend in Latham, according to several attendees and confirmed by Dan McCoy, chairman of the Albany County Democratic Committee.

“He introduced her and said he would be doing everything he could to help her election,” McCoy told me by phone. The event, at Michael’s Banquet House in Latham, raised money for the committee’s efforts. Tonko and Gillibrand also appeared together at a roundtable in Schenectady on Saturday.

Tonko is one of a few members of the delegation who had yet to back Gillibrand–he becomes the 19th member of New York’s House delegation to endorse the junior senator, one week after she won a key nod from Jerry Nadler, whose support indicated acquiescence to Gillibrand’s candidacy by liberals.

Tonko told me in June that a formal endorsement of Gillibrand would come “soon.” He represents the House district adjacent to Gillibrand’s old district. It’s unclear why he did not make a public endorsement earlier.