NEW YORK — After hinting that he might steer clear of political endorsements, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown his support behind Rep. Charlie Rangel, the embattled Congressman's office announced Wednesday.
Rangel’s campaign released a statement Wednesday confirming both the mayor and his predecessor, Ed Koch, will support the 21-term Congressman, less than a month ahead of the June 26 primary.
“For more than four decades, [Rangel] has delivered for New York City time and time again. We've had six very different Mayors during his tenure in Congress, but we all shared one thing in common: when the City needs results in Washington, you pick up the phone and call Congressman Rangel,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
“He has fought for his country, fought for his city and fought for residents of his district. We need to keep him in office and fighting for us — so let’s get behind Charlie!” he said.
“He needs our help, let's do it!" Koch added.
Rangel is facing one of the toughest re-election battles of his career against State Sen. Adriano Espaillat in a newly re-drawn district that includes parts of the Bronx and is now majority Latino for the first time.
Bloomberg had earlier suggested that he might stay out of the race despite previously endorsing Rangel. But his name appeared on Rangel’s annual birthday fundraiser invitation, which began making the rounds Tuesday night, leading to speculation that he had changed his mind.
The invitation for the June 13th bash names Bloomberg, as well as a host of other city officials, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Comptroller John Liu, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and former Gov. David Paterson.
Rangel and Espaillat, who would become the first Dominican-American Congressman if he were to win the seat, have been locked in a war for endorsements in recent weeks, especially from prominent Latino leaders.
Rangel has also been endorsed by Rep. José Serrano, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares and former rival Adam Clayton Powell IV.
In addition to Espaillat, Rangel is facing challenges from Clyde Williams, a former political aide to President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, Joyce Johnson, a former business executive and political adviser, and former model Craig Schley.