Ackerman said Meng's middle-class upbringing and values reflect his own, making her the best choice in the Democratic primary for the sixth congressional district seat.
"Grace is without question the most qualified candidate in this race. She has been a dynamic legislator in the Assembly and has focused on getting the hard work done, never forgetting her working, middle-class roots," Ackerman said.
Ackerman, who announced in March he would not seek re-election, formally endorsed Meng Tuesday morning at the Pomonok Senior Center in South Flushing.
She is competing in a June 26 primary against Assemblyman Rory Lancman and City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley. The winner of the three-way race will face City Councilman Daniel J. Halloran III, who is running as a Republican for the seat in a district comprised heavily of Asian-American voters.
Ackerman's endorsement — coupled with his campaign experience and dedicated base of supporters — could help boost Meng's campaign. She has also been endorsed by the United Federation of Teachers and other labor unions.
If elected, Meng, a 36-year-old lawyer and mother of two young boys who was first elected to the Assembly in 2008, would become the first Asian-American member of New York’s congressional delegation.
Lancman remains a strong contender for the seat, and has won the backing of former Mayor Edward Koch. Crowley, chairwoman of the council's Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, has won endorsements from several police and fire unions, according to The New York Times.
Meng said she was "honored and grateful" for what her campaign described as the "game-changing" nod from Ackerman.
"It’s time we reprioritize what’s important in our country," Meng said. "Government has become captured by elites in ways that risk destroying what is special and fundamental about America."