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Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer throw support behind de Blasio ahead of election

Schumer says as mayor de Blasio has satisfied “two most important criteria” with crime down, jobs up.

Sen. Bernie Sanders joined Mayor Bill de Blasio aboard the downtown A train from Penn Station to Fulton Street Station for a news conference on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, regarding de Blasio's millionaire's tax proposal to fund transit upgrades. (Credit: Newsday/Laura Figueroa)

Mayor Bill de Blasio entered the final week of the campaign season touting the support of Sens. Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders on Monday.

Sanders, the former Democratic presidential candidate, headlined an evening campaign rally for the mayor in midtown, after spending his morning riding the subway with the de Blasio and endorsing the incumbent’s proposal to tax the city’s top earners to fund transit system upgrades.

“What the mayor is saying and what we should be doing in Washington is, we say to the wealthiest people in this country, ‘you know what, you need to start paying your fair share of taxes,’” Sanders said at a joint news conference with de Blasio at the Fulton Street station in lower Manhattan.

Despite Sanders’ support for de Blasio’s so-called “millionaires tax,” the plan faces an uphill climb getting approved by the State Legislature, which has rejected the mayor’s two previous attempts to impose such a tax.

The duo arrived at the station after taking a delayed A train from Penn Station, where de Blasio gave Sanders (I-Vt.) pointers on swiping his MetroCard properly to avoid getting stuck in the turnstile.

During last year’s New York Democratic primary, Sanders caught some flack for stating he thought tokens were still used to gain entry. His opponent Hillary Clinton also generated some scrutiny from straphangers last campaign season after she needed to swipe multiple times before making it through the turnstiles.

Meanwhile, Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced his endorsement alongside de Blasio at a morning news conference at Grand Central Station.

“The two most important criteria in endorsing a mayor are, is crime down, are jobs up?” Schumer said. “He can answer both ‘yes’ resoundingly. I’m proud to endorse him.”

Schumer, the Senate minority leader, stood by his endorsement when asked by reporters if he had weighed recent testimony in federal court by a former de Blasio campaign donor who said last week that he donated more than $102,000 in campaign contributions at the mayor’s request in exchange for preferential treatment.

De Blasio told reporters on Sunday that he could not recall whether he had a conversation with real estate developer-turned-felon Jona Rechnitz about making such a donation, and on Monday repeated his claims that Rechnitz was a “felon” and a “liar.”

Schumer emphasized that his endorsement ahead of the Nov. 7 election was based on de Blasio’s handling of crime and unemployment.

“The mayor’s done an outstanding job . . . he’s answered questions on those issues,” Schumer said.

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