Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) Monday in his re-election bid against City Councilman Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), whom the mayor had preliminary discussions with to challenge Maltese two years ago.
"To receive the support of Mayor Bloomberg, who has done so much for this city, is quite an honor," Maltese said in a statement. "I am enormously humbled by his support and look forward to continuing our partnership on behalf of our city's residents."
Addabbo campaign spokeswoman Alexis Grenell downplayed the endorsement.
"It's no secret that the mayor is supporting Senate Republicans. The mayor is also no stranger to self-interests," she said, suggesting Bloomberg wants Republicans in control of the Senate because they support his agenda.
The race is considered to be one of the most crucial for state Democrats, who hope to wrest control of the state Senate from Republicans, now holding a one-seat majority in the chamber.
In 2006, Bloomberg, then a Republican, considered getting Addabbo to run against Maltese because he believed the senator was not helping to deliver education money to the city from the state.
An aide to the mayor told the TimesLedger in February 2006 that Maltese had angered Bloomberg by backing fellow Queens Republican Tom Ognibene for mayor instead of Bloomberg in 2005.
"Obviously, the deterioration of the relationship was a factor," the aide said. "But the fact is Mr. Maltese has never been helpful in delivering education aid money to New York City schools."
But the mayor changed his tune in an endorsement letter dated this month.
"Serf Maltese has a long record of delivering for the people of Queens and New York City," Bloomberg wrote. "He has fought for our fair share for law enforcement, homeland security, health care and education. Our schools, hospitals and our neighborhoods need Serf Maltese in Albany fighting for us."
The mayor ended the letter by calling the senator "the best person to represent Queens and New York City in the state Senate and in Albany."
Grenell said it was "strategically weak" for Maltese the roll out the endorsement eight weeks before the election, arguing that it shows the senator's campaign is "worried."
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2008 Community News Group
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