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Queens GOP endorses Bloomberg for mayor

Probable Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg was endorsed by the Queens County GOP to represent the party as the mayor of New York City at the May 17 meeting of the Queens County Republican Party Executive Committee.

Bloomberg, the founder and owner of the Bloomberg media empire, has received endorsements from four of the city’s five Republican county organizations. The Bronx Republican Party, the only holdout, endorsed former Borough President and Deputy Mayor Herman Badillo for mayor.

Despite the endorsements, Bloomberg has yet to officially announce his candidacy. He is expected to do so in the next few weeks.

“I have absolutely no doubt that Mr. Bloomberg will make a superlative mayor for the city of New York,” said state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale), head of the Queens Republican Party. “I believe that he will well represent the borough of Queens.”

He said Bloomberg, a self-made billionaire who launched his career on Wall Street, understands the ins and outs of the city and what makes it run. He said Bloomberg is qualified to continue with the policies of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has worked to clean up the city and improve the quality of life for its 8 million residents.

“The only person qualified, willing and able to continue the remarkable changes and improvements of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is Michael Bloomberg,” said City Councilman Thomas Ognibene (R-Middle Village) in a statement.

William Cunningham, a spokesman for Bloomberg, said the endorsements from the borough organizations were vital to Bloomberg’s campaign to lead the city. He said the organizations bring valuable resources to the campaign such as helping candidates get on the ballot, explaining which issues are important to the borough’s residents and what will and will not work on the campaign.

“The Queens organization has been one of the bedrocks of the three Giuliani campaigns, which are a model for the Bloomberg campaign this year,” he said.

In response to a New York Post story last week, which said Bloomberg had planned to donate $25,000 to the Queens Republican Organization, Cunningham said no money had been transferred anywhere. He said the claim was false.

Bloomberg, who will finance his own campaign, plans to support the Republican organizations on both the state and city level, Cunningham said. The Republicans, he said, are “all a part of the same team.”

Cunningham said Bloomberg does not want taxpayers’ dollars to support his political campaign.

“Mike has done well in New York City over the past 35 years and extremely well over the past 20 years,” he said. “He can afford to finance his own campaign and he will not take tax dollars that can be used for other things.”

Because Bloomberg has decided to opt out of the city’s campaign finance matching program — which Cunningham said was one of the best in the country — he is not beholden to the spending limits implemented by the New York City Campaign Finance Board. These ceilings limit a mayoral candidate to spending no more than $5,231,000 on a primary or general election race.

By opting out of the campaign finance program and financing his own campaign, Cunningham said Bloomberg is not beholden to any person or group, but “owes the people of New York City his best effort.”

He said it was hard to predict whether Bloomberg would stay within the cap for the mayoral race because the ceiling does not include money other organizations spend on the candidates. In addition, the other candidates have built up “a cadre of troops” and name recognition during their extensive time in public office.

People will “know the entire donor list” on Bloomberg’s campaign, “all expenditures will be released” and there will be “no hidden expenses,” Cunningham said.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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