Bloomberg Endorses Republican in Heated Massachusetts Senate Race

July 27, 2012
By , The New York Times

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, one of the most outspoken defenders of Wall Street, has sided against one of the financial industry’s biggest critics in a hotly contested Senate race in his native Massachusetts.

Mr. Bloomberg has agreed to host a fund-raiser at his Upper East Side town house for the re-election campaign of Senator Scott P. Brown, a Republican, who is being challenged by a fiery consumer advocate, Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat who is also a professor at Harvard Law School.

Mr. Bloomberg, through a spokesman, said his endorsement was not about Wall Street at all, but about his desire to reward Mr. Brown for voting against his party and the National Rifle Association on a gun control measure.

“If you take a tough stand and buck party orthodoxy that helps the City of New York, the mayor would like to support you,” Mr. Bloomberg’s spokesman, Stu Loeser, said Thursday.

Mr. Bloomberg has long been a supporter of more restrictive gun laws, and founded, along with Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston, the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Mr. Bloomberg has been emphasizing the need for gun control in the wake of the mass shooting last week in Aurora, Colo.

Mr. Brown has generally received high ratings from gun rights organizations and has not pushed for renewing a federal assault-weapons ban or for tightening restrictions on gun shows. But Mr. Loeser said the mayor had been won over by the senator’s “tough stand” opposing a measure that would have required states to honor concealed-weapons permits issued by other states.

“The biggest reason the mayor is supporting Senator Brown is the senator’s help on one of our biggest gun issues: opposing concealed-carry reciprocity that would let people with gun permits from rural states like Arkansas and Kentucky carry hidden handguns in New York City,” Mr. Loeser said.

The fund-raiser, on Aug. 15, was first reported by Politico.

Mr. Brown’s spokeswoman, Alleigh Marré, welcomed Mr. Bloomberg’s support. “Mayor Bloomberg is a true independent who always puts progress over politics,” Ms. Marré said. “That’s Scott Brown’s philosophy as well.”

Ms. Warren said Thursday that she had never met Mr. Bloomberg, but noted that on the day his endorsement of Mr. Brown became public, she was endorsed by a group of Massachusetts credit unions. “Today, Scott Brown stands with Wall Street, and I stand with every credit union in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” she said. “There’s the difference.”

Mr. Bloomberg has occasionally inserted himself into the politics of his home state. In 2009, after the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Mr. Bloomberg endorsed a Democrat, Alan Khazei, for the seat. Mr. Khazei was defeated in the Democratic primary by Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general; she was then defeated in a special election by Mr. Brown.

Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Warren share some policy views. But the mayor’s chief policy adviser on gun issues, John Feinblatt, said Bloomberg aides had talked with Ms. Warren’s staff and was not convinced gun control issues were a priority for her campaign.

Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Brown differ on some issues. Mr. Bloomberg has been an advocate for same-sex marriage, while Mr. Brown, a onetime opponent, has largely avoided questions on the issue recently. But Mr. Loeser said the mayor had on other occasions endorsed elected officials with whom he had serious policy differences.

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