Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.). | Mary Altaffer/AP Photo
Mike Bloomberg snagged his first congressional endorsement Monday — Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), a Staten Island Democrat whose 2018 opponent got a primary boost from the former New York City mayor.
Rose announced his support for Bloomberg’s unconventional bid for the Democratic nomination Monday, calling him “even keeled and visionary” and contrasting him with the “partisanship and hyper-vitriol that has overtaken Washington.”
“The city Mike Bloomberg inherited in 2002 was reeling from the worst terrorist attack in American history and facing economic recession,” Rose said in a prepared statement. “There were real fears nothing would ever feel or be the same again. Mike Bloomberg took the reins, brought New York City back to life and put us on track to lead in the 21st century.”
It’s a notable endorsement for the billionaire Bloomberg, who has vacillated between the Democratic and Republican parties during his late-in-life political career.
He donated $5,400 to Rose’s opponent, then-Rep. Dan Donovan, during the GOP primary for that seat. Bloomberg had supported Donovan in his unsuccessful bid to become New York’s attorney general in 2010 — a gesture in keeping with Bloomberg’s bipartisanship that has come to dog him with Democrats in his quest for the party’s nomination.
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. | Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images
Staten Island is one of the only areas in deep-blue New York City where Donald Trump routed Hillary Clinton, New York’s former senator.
Its role as a conservative outpost was never a problem for Bloomberg, who enjoyed a good relationship with Staten Island’s members of the GOP and the state’s obscure Conservative Party during his three terms as mayor.
“Despite some notable clashes on policy, Mike Bloomberg maintained a generally positive relationship with Staten Island’s elected officials,” said the current borough president, Jimmy Oddo, a Republican who had his share of fights with Bloomberg over the ex-mayor’s post-Sept. 11 property tax increase.
State Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat, said Bloomberg “was a real friend to us,” including sending staff to help rebuild the island after Hurricane Sandy’s devastation in 2012.
Neither Oddo nor Savino have endorsed yet in the 2020 presidential race.
Shortly after announcing his candidacy in late November, Bloomberg dropped by a civic association holiday party on Staten Island to address the crowd.
Rose, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, broke ranks to vote against a House resolution restricting Trump’s use of military force against Iran last week.
“We are not at war with Iran, and no president can engage in war without congressional approval. But the commander in chief holds the authority and responsibility to target hostile combatants who threaten American forces and civilians,” Rose co-wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times. “The War Powers Resolution passed by the House this week sends the wrong message to the American people and the world that our nation is heading toward or is currently engaged in war with Iran. Neither are true.”