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Lhota On Possible Bloomberg Endorsement: ‘I’m Not Really Focused On It Right Now’

Report Says Bloomberg Will Endorse Lhota If De Blasio Wins Among Dems
Joseph Lhota (file/credit: Andy Kropa/Getty Images)

Joseph Lhota (file/credit: Andy Kropa/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A published report this week said Mayor Michael Bloomberg might endorse Republican Joe Lhota if Bill de Blasio wins the Democratic nomination for mayor, but Lhota said his focus is elsewhere.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, the New York Post report said the mayor is worried that de Blasio might undo his legacy.

Lhota said he has not even spoken to Bloomberg since late January or early February, but plans to do so.

“I will talk to the mayor on Tuesday night after I win the primary – maybe as late as Wednesday morning – and we’ll discuss it. But I’m not really focused on it right now,” Lhota said. “I’m focusing on winning the Republican primary and going to all five boroughs, and making sure that my supporters are all geared, and we have the get-out-the-vote operation.”

But Lhota did say he has found himself agreeing with Bloomberg 85 to 90 percent of the time.

As for de Blasio, he told Lamb on Friday that the reports about Bloomberg endorsing Lhota do not bother him.

“My campaign has been about making changes,” de Blasio said. “It’s been about getting away from the status quo we’re living right now. And obviously I think where Michael Bloomberg has left us is not working for a huge percentage of New Yorkers.”

While he was initially elected as a Republican and later became an Independent, Bloomberg has largely endorsed Democrats in recent years – including Andrew Cuomo for governor in 2010, and Barack Obama for president in 2012.

It was considered virtually unquestioned earlier this year that Bloomberg would endorse City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for mayor. But Quinn has fallen behind de Blasio in opinion polls, and has also found her opinions divided from Bloomberg on many issues, the Post pointed out.

But Lhota and Bloomberg have not always had the most cordial relationship either. Following Superstorm Sandy, Lhota – then chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority – made headlines for saying Bloomberg acted “like an idiot” for predicting the Queens-Midtown tunnel would open before it was ready.

And earlier in the year, Bloomberg reportedly had a wish list of successors in mind – including billionaire media mogul Mort Zuckerman, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. But none of them ran.

Lhota is the GOP frontrunner, up against billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis and Doe Fund founder George McDonald in the Republican primary.

Lhota and an ex-deputy mayor under Rudolph Giuliani, said his former boss would join him on the campaign trail this weekend. Giuliani had been out of the country for two weeks on business, depriving Lhota of support from his top surrogate.

De Blasio is up against Quinn, along with former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, current Comptroller John Liu, former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, former New York City Councilman Sal Albanese, Brooklyn Church Pastor Erick Salgado, William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice director Randy Credico, and MBA Ceceilia Berkowitz.

De Blasio’s poll numbers hovering above 40 percent, he said he still expects to be locked in a runoff after Tuesday’s primary — though he wouldn’t say who he’d prefer to run against. That, he said, is for the people to decide.

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