San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo endorsed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for president Monday, in the first stamp of approval for the billionaire White House hopeful from a prominent California elected official.
Liccardo had previously backed home-state Sen. Kamala Harris, who dropped out of the White House race last week.
“Mayors don’t have the luxury of hyperpartisan tongue-wagging, they have to solve problems and get things done,” Liccardo said in a statement. “As mayor of the nation’s largest, most diverse, and most complex city, Mike solved problems — to reduce poverty, expand jobs, cut gun violence, improve public health, and build affordable housing.”
Liccardo has cultivated a relationship with Bloomberg in the past. Last October, San Jose was chosen by Bloomberg Philanthropies to participate in a two-year program aimed at addressing climate change locally. As part of the program, Bloomberg provides technical support, funding for a team member and training for senior leadership to San Jose employees.
In October, the San Jose mayor had planned to participate in a climate summit in Denmark led by a group Bloomberg chairs, although he had to cut the trip short during the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power outages.
A spokesman for Liccardo said he wasn’t immediately available to discuss his endorsement.
Liccardo will serve as the California co-chair for Bloomberg’s campaign — helping direct his political efforts in a state that will be key to his fellow mayor’s unorthodox bid.
Bloomberg is planning to skip the early caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire and focus on Super Tuesday states like California, spending millions of dollars to blanket the airwaves up and down the state.
But plenty of previous ultra-wealthy candidates who ran for California’s top offices — such as former HP executive Meg Whitman, who Bloomberg endorsed and campaigned with in San Jose when she ran for governor in 2010 — have flamed out even after spending millions of they own fortunes.