Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg picked up his first congressional endorsement Monday, with New York Democratic Rep. Max Rose backing his bid, even though Bloomberg donated to Rose’s 2018 opponent.
Bloomberg gave $5,400, the maximum allowed from an individual, to Republican Rep. Dan Donovan in April 2018, Federal Election Commission documents show. The donation came two months before the June primary, when Donovan was facing a challenge from former GOP Rep. Michael G. Grimm. Donovan went on to win the primary but lost to Rose by 6 points in November.
Bloomberg’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his 2018 donation to Donovan. But Rose’s campaign pointed to his comments to NY1 late last year about Bloomberg’s donation.
“I have no problem with people who are independent thinkers and who choose to support people who are at times across the aisle,” Rose said.
Rose is one of the most vulnerable House members running for reelection this year given that President Donald Trump carried his Staten Island district by 10 points in 2016. Some vulnerable House Democrats have started to line up behind Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, a sign they view the former vice president as the best general election candidate. Rose is the first member of Congress to endorse Bloomberg, who served three terms as mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013, first as a Republican before switching to independent in 2007.
An Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, Rose cited Bloomberg’s leadership following the 9/11 terror attacks in his endorsement.
“Mike Bloomberg took the reins, brought New York City back to life and put us on track to lead in the 21st century,” the Democrat said in a statement released by the Bloomberg campaign.
“Mike Bloomberg has taken on tough fights and gotten results, which is why I believe he is the best candidate for my district, my city, and for our country,” he added.
Rose is facing a competitive reelection race, but he has a financial advantage. His campaign announced Monday that he raised $1.2 million in the final fundraising quarter of 2019 and had $2.5 million on hand Dec. 31. GOP leaders have signaled that their preferred candidate to take on Rose is state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who recently announced she raised $306,000 in the final quarter and had $723,000 in the bank at Dec. 31. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race a Toss-up.
Bloomberg entered the presidential primary later than the rest of the field and is forgoing competing in the four early caucus and primary states. Instead, he is focusing on the slew of states voting on Super Tuesday on March 3.
He has reportedly already spent $200 million on his own campaign, twice as much as he spent during the 2018 midterms, when his super PAC coordinated with other outside groups in the effort to flip the House. Over the weekend, Bloomberg did not rule out spending $1 billion to defeat Trump, whether or not he wins the Democratic nomination, according to The New York Times.