By Heather Grossmann and Ben Fractenberg
DNAinfo News Editor
MANHATTAN — Mayor Michael Bloomberg jumped into the election season fray with an endorsement of Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Cuomo at City Hall on Wednesday.
"Andrew Cuomo is the right person for this job at this moment," Bloomberg told reporters at City Hall.
While the mayor deflected questions about his views on Cuomo's opponent, tea partier Carl Paladino, he did say that, "anger is not a governing strategy," an apparent allusion to the Republican nominee's bombastic style and his campaign slogan, "mad as hell."
"It will be my pleasure to partner with New York City and the mayor to do everything we can for this city and state together," Cuomo said. "Mr. mayor: thank you, thank you, thank you."
Bloomberg did not endorse a candidate for governor during the last gubernatorial election, when Eliot Spitzer ran against — and crushed — Republican John Faso.
The mayor has already endorsed Republican Dan Donovan over Democrat Eric Schneiderman in the race for state attorney general, and is backing Republican Harry Wilson for state comptroller over Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli.
Bloomberg, who is currently not registered with a political party, had dismissed Paladino's electability back in July, saying that the real estate developer didn't have a chance at winning.
However, the Republican nominee's chances appear to be improving, with Cuomo leading the Republican candidate by only a 49 to 43 percent lead, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
Cuomo acknowledged Paladino's recent bump in the polls.
"My opponent has an increase, which I think is to be expected," Cuomo said Wednesday. "He had a primary win last week and got a lot of press...But the campaign is just starting."
Paladino is getting strong support from Tea Party voters, which has helped him gain in the polls, the survey said. The Tea Party helped him win the Republican nomination for governor in a stunning defeat of former Long Island Congressman Rick Lazio in last week's primaries.
State Democrats are beginning to directly attack the Republican challenger, recently releasing a photo portraying Paladino as a pig feeding "at the public trough."
Cuomo reportedly had an emergency meeting with his advisers on how to deal with the personal attacks. The gubernatorial hopeful told the Daily News he didn’t want to take part in "gutter politics."
Paladino, on the other hand, isn’t pulling any punches.
The Buffalo businessman has referred to residents of Manhattan as "pampered liberal elitists" in the past.
Bloomberg appeared to get frustrated with reporters Wednesday after they asked several questions about whether Paladino's controversial personality was a factor in the Cuomo endorsement.
"I don't know. I've never met Mr. Paladino," Bloomberg said.
Meanwhile, Cuomo appeared to try and harness some of his opponent's populist rage during the announcement of Bloomberg's endorsement.
"I know how bad Albany is, I know it more than most," said Cuomo. "I know people are angry, I'm angry!"