GOP Challenger Joe Lhota Picks Up Endorsement From SI Borough President

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y) has endorsed Bill de Blasio for New York City mayor.

Schumer said he and de Blasio are both “pro-growth progressives” when he announced his support at a Brooklyn Borough Hall press conference on Friday.

“New York needs big, bold ideas to meet the challenges before us, and a laser focus on making sure the economic pie is shared more equitably with all New Yorkers,” Schumer said in a statement. “Bill de Blasio is the leader to achieve these goals, and I will do all I can to help make these objectives become reality.”

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, de Blasio, a strident critic of stop-and-frisk and of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, has moved his rhetoric toward the center.

At the press conference Friday, de Blasio promised if elected, New York would become an even safer city.

“Because we’re going to have 34,000-plus cops no matter what, I’m committed to that. We’re going to have the best anti-terrorism force on earth, we’re going to have the best technology we’ve ever had in the history of policing that we’re using more and more in this town,” de Blasio said. “All of that’s going to drive crime down and the new and better relationship between police and community in a number of our neighborhoods is going to give our officers what they need most, which is information.”

The mayoral hopeful added he’d achieve all of that while scrupulously protecting constitutional rights, Lamb reported.

Schumer’s endorsement is the latest in the flood of major Democrats who sat out the primary but are now backing de Blasio, the public advocate, once he became the party’s nominee.

Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former President Bill Clinton and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also announced their support.

By not endorsing in the primary, Schumer chose not to support another mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner, his former aide.

De Blasio, the presumptive Democratic nominee, faces Republican nominee Joe Lhota and independents in the Nov. 5 general election. A recent poll shows de Blasio with a commanding lead over Lhota.

Following the endorsement from Schumer, de Blasio discussed the general election on WCBS 880.

“I’m on the side of everyday New Yorkers and my experience shows that and the positions I’ve taken show that and I think this is ultimately going to be an election about two very different visions for where the city has to go,” de Blasio told WCBS 880.

The public advocate said his career has given him the tools necessary to lead the city. He also defended his “tale of two cities” campaign platform.

“I can’t stop talking about something that’s affecting so many New Yorkers,” he told WCBS 880. “I won’t because it’s what I believe…there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging the problem.”

Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro (L) endorses Republican Joe Lhota for mayor, Sept. 20, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro (L) endorses Republican Joe Lhota for mayor, Sept. 20, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

Also Friday, Lhota picked up the endorsement of Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro.

Lhota has called for five debates against de Blasio – one in each borough – instead of the two already planned. When asked about it on WCBS 880, de Blasio deferred without agreeing to extra debates.

“It almost reminds of me why I say I’m more prepared than any other candidate running for mayor during the entire process, to be mayor on day one,” Lhota said.

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