WASHINGTON — Democratic White House hopeful Mike Bloomberg picked up the endorsement Tuesday of Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who was also tapped to be a national campaign co-chair.
Rush told the Chicago Sun-Times he was impressed by Bloomberg’s approach to the “economic discrimination in the black community.”
Rush, who represents the 1st Congressional District anchored on Chicago’s South Side, was a supporter of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., before she dropped out of the 2020 race in December.
Rush said in the wake of Harris’ withdrawal from the race, he was called by Democratic rivals ex-New York Mayor Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Bloomberg and Rush did not meet when Bloomberg was recently in Chicago for his first campaign event. The endorsement came after several phone conversations, Rush said.
Rush said he will serve as a surrogate for Bloomberg and have “influence into strategies.”
Rush is facing three challengers in the Democratic primary March 17. He said acting as a surrogate and adviser to the Bloomberg campaign will not interfere with his own re-election bid.
No Democrat can win the White House without the heavy support of African American voters.
Rush potentially helps Bloomberg because he is a prominent African American elected official. And Rush’s congressional district historically generates a heavy Democratic vote. So much so that the district has eight presidential delegates, with delegates apportioned according to the Democratic vote turnout.
In the 18 Illinois congressional districts, the number of elected delegates range from three to eight. When Bloomberg brought his campaign to Chicago for the first time a few weeks ago, it was in the 2nd Congressional District, which is allotted seven delegates.
Bloomberg said in a statement, Rush “has dedicated his life to building a more open, inclusive, equitable, just and prosperous America — as a civil rights activist, pastor, and leader in Congress, where he has been a force for change on issues we both feel passionately about, including health care, gun violence, and poverty.
”I’m honored to have his support — and as our campaign continues to build momentum, we will benefit from the wisdom and advice he will offer as a National Co-Chair of our campaign.”
Rush is the fourth House member to endorse Bloomberg, joining Reps. Harley Rouda of California, Stephanie Murphy of Florida, and Max Rose of New York.