State Sen. Michael Gianaris, the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the state Senate, endorsed Bernie Sanders’s bid for the presidency this weekend as the Vermont lawmaker held a massive rally in New York City.
Gianaris’s endorsement of Sanders came as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also endorsed his candidacy. Both Gianaris and Ocasio-Cortez represent overlapping parts of Queens.
“Bernie Sanders is the best choice to reduce this growing chasm between the ultra-rich and working people by advancing policies to address our gross wealth inequality,” Gianaris said.
His endorsement of Sanders makes him the most high-profile Democrat in the state legislature to endorse in the presidential campaign so far. In addition to serving as the deputy majority leader, Gianaris is also the chairman of the Senate Democrats’ fundraising arm.
Gianaris was a prominent critic of Amazon’s proposed expansion in Long Island City, a move that was tied to a massive state tax incentive program. The project was later scuttled amid opposition.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had pushed for the Amazon project, has been supportive of former Vice President Joe Biden’s candidacy, but has stopped short of a full endorsement.
On Sunday at a news conference in an Albany suburb, Cuomo was unruffled by Gianaris’s endorsement.
“You’d have to ask him,” Cuomo said. “It’s his opinion. That’s his decision that he has to make.”