Bernie has momentum, but Abbate likes Mike

Assemblymember endorses Bloomberg for president

SOUTHERN BROOKLYN — Mike Bloomberg is fast becoming a favorite among independent-minded Southwest Brooklyn politicians as he continues his quest to win the White House.

Bloomberg, who is campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination for president, picked up another endorsement from a local lawmaker when Assemblymember Peter Abbate announced on Monday that he is backing the former New York City mayor.

Two other local Democrats, U.S. Rep. Max Rose and State Sen. Diane Savino, had previously endorsed Bloomberg. Both Rose and Savino represent parts of Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst and other Southwest Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Bloomberg’s near-universally panned debate performance in Las Vegas last week did not deter Abbate.

“I did not change my mind,” Abbate told the Home Reporter, adding that he believes Bloomberg is the best person to run against incumbent Republican President Donald Trump.

The New York Times reported that Bloomberg’s campaign staff was rattled by the billionaire former mayor’s lackluster performance in the debate. The debate took place Feb. 19, a few days before the Nevada Democratic Caucuses.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders handily won the caucuses. Bloomberg was not on the ballot. He has bypassed early primary and caucus states in favor of campaigning in states holding primaries on Super Tuesday, March 3.

Abbate defended Bloomberg.

“He was a little off-key in the debate. But I based my endorsement on how he performed for New York City when he was mayor. He brought the city back after 9/11. I think he can do that for the whole country. To me, watching the debate, I thought he was the most qualified person to do what needs to be done,” said Abbate, a Democrat representing parts of Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Sunset Park.

Abbate, who has been in the Assembly for 34 years, said he got a close-up view of Bloomberg’s governing style when Bloomberg served as mayor from 2002 to 2013. “I worked with him during the 12 years he was in office. I saw the level of professionalism he brought to the job,” he said.

In a statement issued by the Bloomberg campaign, Abbate praised the job Bloomberg did as mayor.

“I have worked with five different New York City mayors since taking office and none of them have done more to improve New Yorkers’ quality of life than Mike Bloomberg,” Abbate stated. “Mike’s bold policies improved high school graduation rates, created hundreds of thousands of jobs for New Yorkers of all backgrounds and helped lift up the entire city after the devastating 9/11 attacks. Thanks to his visionary leadership, Brooklynites live in healthier and stronger communities.”

Sanders, who won the Nevada Caucuses as well as the New Hampshire primary and came in a close second to former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucuses, appears to have a great deal of momentum going into the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29.

Abbate said he isn’t so sure. “I think Bernie’s momentum is being driven by the media,” he said, adding that there are still a lot of primaries left.

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