De Blasio endorses I.D.C. senators Klein and Avella

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Klein with de Blasio. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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ALBANY—Bill de Blasio is endorsing State Senators Jeff Klein and Tony Avella for re-election. 

"Throughout this past session, Sen. Jeff Klein and Sen. Tony Avella worked tirelessly on behalf of the residents of New York City and helped make progress on issues that had been stalled for far too long,” de Blasio said in a statement Tuesday.

The New York City mayor lauded Klein's role in helping the city secure funds for universal pre-kindergarten and property tax relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Klein, of the Bronx, leads the Senate's Independent Democratic Conference, and Avella, of Queens, is the breakaway conference's most recent addition.

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Late last month, Klein and the other four members of the I.D.C. announced an agreement to join with the Senate's Democratic conference after the November elections.

De Blasio, a Democrat, has played an instrumental role in aligning the five-member faction with the Democrats.

At one point, de Blasio reached out to potential challengers to the I.D.C. members, threatening to follow through unless they dropped their power-sharing arrangement with the Republicans.

Primary challengers to I.D.C. senators Diane Savino and David Carlucci have bowed out of prospective challenges, leaving only the challengers to Klein and Avella.

"As part of a united Democratic majority in the State Senate, I look forward to working with Sen. Klein and Sen. Avella as we work to implement a progressive agenda, including increasing the minimum wage, expanding affordable housing, ensuring women’s equality, passing the DREAM Act and much more,” de Blasio's statement said.

Klein said he was honored to receive de Blasio’s endorsement.

"We both agree that there's still more work to be done including, passing the DREAM Act, protecting a woman's right to choose and enacting real, meaningful campaign finance reform,” he said. 

Avella's challenger, former New York City comptroller John Liu, ran against de Blasio in the Democratic primary for mayor.