New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is throwing his support behind Sen. Scott Brown’s bid for reelection, giving a boost to the Massachusetts Republican who faces a fierce opponent in Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
Bloomberg will host a fundraiser for Brown on Aug. 15, according to an invitation first reported by Politico.
Brown, who swept into office in 2010 as a darling of the tea party movement, has carefully cast himself as a centrist senator who isn’t afraid to buck the party establishment. It’s an image that should help his efforts to defeat Harvard law professor Warren, who is hoping to return to Democratic control the seat that was held for decades by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
Bloomberg’s support could help cement that image: The New York mayor is a Republican-leaning independent who is known for making the Republican Party uncomfortable. He’s made headlines most recently with calls for immigration reform, gun control and an initiative to ban the sale of enormous sugar-sweetened beverages.
It’s not the first time Bloomberg has weighed in on the fate of the Massachusetts Senate seat. In 2009, he backed Democrat Alan Khazei, who lost the Democratic primary to Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general who was defeated by Brown.
Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser told the New York Times that Brown was the mayor’s choice this time around because of his “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.”
Brown, who supports gun rights generally, said last year that he would oppose efforts to force states to recognize concealed-carry permits issued by other states. The move was a major blow to the National Rifle Assn., which had helped elect Brown in 2010.
“Mayor Bloomberg is a true independent who always puts progress over politics,” a spokesman for the Brown campaign told Politico. “That’s Scott Brown’s philosophy as well, and he is honored to have the mayor’s support.”
Bloomberg has stepped up his push for stricter gun control after 12 people were killed in a shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater. Brown has said that gun laws should be left to the states.