City Councilman Oliver Koppell will endorse Mayor Michael Bloomberg's re-election bid, he said during a phone conversation late this morning.
Mr. Koppell is endorsing Mr. Bloomberg because he feels the mayor has been an effective administrator, he said.
But he later added he's also endorsing Mr. Bloomberg in part based on the belief that the mayor — who many say has a fondness for innovation that comes with a resistance to criticism — would be more receptive to Mr. Koppell's views if he made the endorsement.
"The implication was that I would be viewed more as part of the team," Mr. Koppell said, if he issued an endorsement. However, he said, the Bloomberg campaign made "no specific promise" that reaching across party lines would get him a better seat at the table.
The Bloomberg campaign was not immediately available for comment.
The councilman's reasons were mainly based in the mayor's record, he said.
"I’m doing it because I believe he’s been a very good manager of the city," said Mr. Koppell. "He, with the Council, have put us in a position where notwithstanding the deep recession on Wall Street the city’s in an even keel financially, better than most."
He also cited improvements in education and the administration's willingness to work with local residents to tighten height restrictions in Riverdale/Kingsbridge-area zoning law.
Mr. Koppell, a Democrat who won his party's primary by an overwhelming margin thanks in part to the backing of a local political club, is bucking both his party and his closest political allies by making this endorsement.
"It’s very disappointing that Oliver has endorsed a Republican candidate," said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, second in command of the Bronx's Democratic apparatus and one of Mr. Koppell's closest friends and political allies. "It’s inexplicable, but he’s certainly free to do whatever he wants, including endorsing the Republican."
The Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, a local political power center in Democratic politics, backed Mr. Koppell's re-election bid — but not before a healthy spate of hand-wringing after the last time the independent-minded councilman bucked his supporters. In 2008, the longtime legislator backed the established leader of the Bronx Democratic party although the BFRDC, and Mr. Dinowitz, were a major force in the insurgency that later deposed him. Mr. Koppell also angered his base by supporting Mr. Bloomberg's push for the legalization of a third term for council and mayor.
"Everyone, I guess ultimately has the right to make their own decisions, even bad decisions. And I put this one in that category," said Bruce Feld, a longtime leader in the Ben Franklin club. "What the consequences are, are we going to change the locks on the club? There will be people who are unhappy, just as I am unhappy."
Monday, October 26, 2009
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