Bloomberg backs state legislature candidates

August 12, 2008 5:02:16 PM PDT
Independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday endorsed two Democratic challengers and a Democratic incumbent in three primary races for the New York state Legislature. Bloomberg is one of New York's most popular politicians and the billionaire's influence and cash are expected to play a big role in the fall elections beginning with the Sept. 9 primary.

In Brooklyn's 21st Senate District, Bloomberg supported Simcha Felder, a New York City councilman and Orthodox Jew, for the New York state Senate seat held by Democrat Kevin Parker of Brooklyn. Parker is a leader in the Legislature's black and Hispanic caucus. Parker has held the seat since 2002 and has held a leadership position in the Democratic conference that hopes to take the majority in the fall elections.

The mayor also backed Daniel Squadron in the Democratic Primary for the 25th Senate District in Manhattan and Brooklyn. That seat has been held by Democratic Sen. Martin Connor, a former Senate minority leader, since 1978. Squadron is also endorsed by Democratic U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, for whom Squadron worked as a top aide.

Democrats are trying to end decades of majority rule by Republicans, who have a one-vote advantage. But their ranks have changed as New York City Council members are term limited by campaign reform laws in the city.

Bloomberg also endorsed Democratic Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat for re-election in Manhattan, who has held his 72nd Assembly District seat since 1997. Espaillat faces Miguel Martinez in the Democratic primary.

Democrats hold a 2:1 majority in the Assembly and don't face a threat of losing the majority to Republicans. Bloomberg was once a Democrat and most recently switched from Republican to independent. Statewide polls show he would be a top candidate for governor statewide if he chooses to run in 2010. He has said he won't.

Bloomberg is also expected to continue his support of Senate Republicans in the fall. He has been a major campaign donor for the Senate GOP conference under former Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who retired this summer.