Michael Bloomberg is officially endorsing Democratic congressional candidate Mike McMahon over his Republican opponent, Bob Straniere.
In a statement, Bloomberg said McMahon has "delivered during his seven years on the City Council, and I know he’ll work just as hard in Washington."
For the mayor, endorsing McMahon makes sense. Despite the deep unpopularity of Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan, McMahon surprised observers and voted for it.
Also, there’s no real downside to endorsing McMahon, since Straniere major problems with the local party on Staten Island.
But Strainere is trying to shine a light on McMahon’s association with the Democratic Party. Before Bloomberg’s endorsement was formally announced, Strainere sent out a press release pushing McMahon to say whether he supports letting embattled Representative Charlie Rangel of Harlem stay on as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which the editorial boards of the New York Times and New York Post oppose.
I emailed Strainere’s release to McMahon’s campaign spokespeople, but have not heard back yet. The statement on Bloomberg’s endorsement is below:
September 19, 2008 – Council Member Michael McMahon today received his second major endorsement in the general election race for the 13th Congressional District from New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Mayor Bloomberg today endorsed McMahon for Congress for Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn, citing McMahon’s proven record of achieving results on the City Council and his thorough knowledge of the district.
"Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn need a strong voice in Congress to get results in transportation, health care and the economy," Mayor Bloomberg said. "During the last seven years, Mike and I have worked together to deliver just those kind of results: increasing ferry service, developing a workable solid waste plan after decades of stagnation, holding the line on government spending, and saving surpluses for tougher times like the ones we’re in now. The 13th Congressional District and all of New York City need a proven leader like Mike to fight for results in Washington. He’s delivered during his seven years on the City Council, and I know he’ll work just as hard in Washington. I am proud to endorse Mike McMahon for Congress, and urge all of the voters of Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn to send him to Washington this November."
“Mayor Bloomberg has set a new standard for what New Yorkers should expect from their leaders, and it’s been a privilege to serve under him on the City Council for the past seven years,” McMahon said. “Together, we’ve worked to bring home real results for New Yorkers, and I’m honored to have his endorsement to continue that work in Washington. When in Congress, I promise to do my best to meet the mayor’s example of independence, courage and creativity in winning real results for my constituents. With his support, I’ll fight tooth and nail to get the results on transit relief, smarter health care policy and real economic solutions that we need on Staten Island and in Southern Brooklyn.”
McMahon and Mayor Bloomberg have a long history working together for the benefit of Staten Island and New York, including work on the Ferry Bill, creation of the city’s first solid waste management plan that permanently closed Fresh Kills, and expansion of the city’s recycling program.
McMahon has a history of reaching across the aisle to achieve results. The New York Times lauded McMahon for his non-partisan approach in its primary endorsement, stating McMahon “has proved adept at reaching out to moderates and conservatives. That broad appeal would be an advantage in representing this conservative-leaning district.” The Staten Island Advance also cited McMahon’s history of cooperation in its primary endorsement of McMahon, writing “he has consistently disdained partisan rancor in favor of getting positive results, and that rare trait will stand him in good stead in a fractious Congress.”
McMahon also received the endorsement of Conservative Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro last week, citing McMahon’s consistent record of looking beyond party to achieve results.
Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement is the latest in a series of good news for McMahon, who is in a strong position going into the general election. With national observers rating the race “likely Democrat” across the board, McMahon closed out the primary with a huge vote total and enthusiasm edge over his Republican opponent, with 11,792 votes for McMahon in the primary compared to only 3,617 for the Republican. In addition, as of the last filing deadline, McMahon held a forty-five-fold cash on hand advantage over his Republican opponent, with $500,000 on hand going into the general as opposed to $11,000 for the Republican.
McMahon received key support in the primary and going into the general, including primary endorsements from the Staten Island Advance, New York Times, Brooklyn Paper and Courier Life, endorsements from elected leaders including Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Charles Schumer, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, former Mayor Ed Koch, and members of the New York City Congressional Delegation, and critical labor support from the New York State AFL–CIO, the United Federation of Teachers, 1199 SEIU Healthcare East, UFCW, RWDSU, the UFA and UFOA.
Upon entering the race, McMahon also earned a spot on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s vaunted “Red to Blue” program, promising financial, communications and strategic support from the national party.
The General Election will be held on November 4th.