Bowser appeared with him at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE, a gentrifying corridor that illustrates the challenges cities face in balancing economic development and the needs of the poor.
She chose Bloomberg, a business man who served three terms as mayor, from a crowded field of candidates that includes former vice president Joe Biden, who worked closely with the District during the Obama administration and whom she has praised in the past.
Also Thursday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney endorsed Biden, saying he has would “prioritize giving working families the shot at the American dream that they deserve.”
Stoney, who was chair of the Virginia Democratic Party when Obama and Biden were elected in 2008, said the former vice president has “dedicated his life to public service and to giving a voice to those who don’t have one. He has always stood up for what was right.”
In a statement provided by the Bloomberg campaign, Bowser said Bloomberg is committed to “putting an end to gun violence” and “mitigating the causes of climate change,” and lauded him for seeking to give “all Americans a fair shot” through his housing and economic plans.
Bloomberg, who entered the race in November, ranked fourth among Democrats and Democratic-leaning registered independent primary voters in a Washington Post-ABC News poll published this week, slightly trailing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and far behind Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
He is not on the ballot in next week’s Iowa caucuses or the following week’s New Hampshire primary, but he is pouring tens of millions of dollars into the 14 “Super Tuesday” states hosting primaries March 3. The District’s Democratic primary is June 2.
Bloomberg has been criticized, especially by African American and civil rights leaders, for backing an aggressive “stop and frisk” policy as New York mayor, which led to police officers stopping a disproportionate number of minorities. Bloomberg said he was “wrong” for supporting the policy shortly before launching his presidential bid.
Bowser, who will be a national campaign co-chair, is among more than two dozen current and former mayors to endorse Bloomberg, a list that also includes former Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter. Bloomberg praised Bowser last week at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, saying she is “doing a terrific job” and that he hopes that “one day soon we can call her governor” — a reference to his support for D.C. statehood.
Her debut as a Bloomberg campaign surrogate was on the Russ Parr Morning Show, a syndicated radio show based in the District. When a host asked her how voters should respond to the “stain” of Bloomberg’s support for stop-and-frisk, Bowser said she accepted Bloomberg’s about-face.
“He regrets very much that he wasn’t looking more closely at the data and recognizing the disproportionate impact on African Americans,” Bowser said. “All mayors are going to go and talk about public safety and do everything they can to keep their city safe, that’s one of the first jobs of the mayor,” Bowser continued. “But no mayor wants to support a policy that underneath it is harassing innocent people.”
She also praised Bloomberg’s campaign strategy to focus on Super Tuesday states instead of the much less diverse Iowa and New Hampshire.
“Mike is … taking an entirely different approach, and he’s going to states all over the country, populous states, diverse states that better reflect America to spread his message,” she said. “He’s laying the groundwork in D.C. for D.C. to be the 51st state, and he wants to make an early investment in our town.”