(WASHINGTON) — Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has now gained the backing of more than 100 mayors, according to his campaign.
And one of the new names on the growing list of Bloomberg supporters is a familiar one to voters this cycle: He’s a former Joe Biden supporter who has flipped over to supporting Bloomberg.
“I scanned the field and originally thought that Joe Biden was the candidate who most closely represented my beliefs,” said Kinston, North Carolina, Mayor Don Hardy. “But after hearing what Mike Bloomberg has to say — on gun safety, economic justice, equity, the environment, health care, the planet — I changed my mind.”
Mount Rainier, Maryland, Mayor Malinda Miles and Birmingham, Alabama, Mayor William Bell are the two other mayors that bring Bloomberg’s mayoral endorsements to 111, according to the campaign.
The Miles, Bell and Hardy endorsements came on Thursday, hours after Bloomberg announced his Mike for Black America initiative, a program to help engage the black community on key issues. Recent polling shows Bloomberg inching close to Biden in popularity among the African American community.
But the initiative and recent support from black mayors highlights a weakness in Bloomberg’s campaign: his checkered history with the black community as exemplified by recently re-released comments supporting stop and frisk.
On Thursday night, as Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner threw his support behind the former New York City mayor, Bloomberg apologized to the African American community for the first time since the 2015 audio resurfaced of him supporting stop and risk against minority communities.
“I defended it, looking back, for too long because I didn’t understand then the unintended pain it was causing to young black and brown families and their kids,” Bloomberg told several hundred supporters gathered in Houston. “I should have acted sooner and faster to stop it. I didn’t and for that I apologize.”
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