In a move that is sure to thrill almost no one in San Francisco, Mayor London Breed has thrown her endorsement weight — such as it is — behind former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg in the upcoming Democratic presidential primary.
"If there was someone else who could [beat Trump], I would be supporting them," Breed told the Chronicle Wednesday night. Breed had been supporting Senator Kamala Harris until she dropped out of the race last month, and she says she's been thinking "long and hard" about who else to endorse as Super Tuesday approaches on March 3. And, so she landed on... Bloomberg?
"He has the ability to beat Donald Trump this November, and that is of the most concern to me," Breed says. Also, the "track record of what he’s done as New York City mayor and what he’s done afterward has been significant."
The New York Times on Sunday made the unprecedented choice of endorsing two candidates — two women, no less — choosing to through its not inconsiderable weight behind both Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the more centrist Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The paper's editorial board said the decision "is meant to address the 'realist' and 'radical' models being presented to voters by the 2020 Democratic field," and that "the board does not take a position on the best path forward for Democrats."
Bloomberg will continue to be hounded in his campaign over his much maligned "stop-and-frisk" policy while he was mayor of New York, which he is now doing a lot of apologizing for. Breed said that she "of course" had her concerns about Bloomberg's previously support of the "failed policy," but says that he now sees it as a mistake. And she's impressed with the work he's done around the environment, nationally, after ending his third term as New York's mayor.
In choosing Bloomberg, Breed is clearly leaning into her center-left reputation, though instead of choosing a former mayor of a small city (Buttigieg) who also has centrist tendencies, she's opted for the formerly Republican Bloomberg, a billionaire who is funding his campaign entirely out of his own $54 billion nest egg. The Chronicle notes that San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, also a former Harris backer, is also now a Bloomberg endorser, while Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti moved from Harris to Biden. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf — probably wisely! — has decided not to endorse a candidate in the primary.
Breed did say, of course, that she would fully support whoever the Democratic nominee ends up being.
It's one hand washes the other in politics, so Bloomberg's campaign issued a statement in response to Breed's endorsement saying, "Voters re-elected London Breed by a wide margin because she is taking on the biggest and toughest issues and she puts progress over politics. I’m honored to have her support and look forward to working with her not only to win this election, but to help make San Francisco and all of California stronger, fairer and greener — with more affordable housing, more good jobs, and health care for all."
As has been clear from the outset with his very late entry onto the campaign trail, Bloomberg is depending on California to give him a major primary boost along with several other states on Super Tuesday — and he's all but written off Iowa and New Hampshire. The strategy may work, and a new national poll out on Wednesday had Bloomberg in a tight fourth place behind Biden, Sanders, and Warren.