Three members of Congress endorse Bloomberg after raucous debate

Democratic presidential candidate Michael BloombergMichael BloombergWHO leader issues warning on 'harmful' e-cigarettes Six months in, two challenges could define Biden's presidency Why Democrats' .5 trillion reconciliation bill is a losing game MORE picked up three more congressional endorsements, despite struggling in his primary debate debut Wednesday night in Las Vegas.

Democratic Reps. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerLawmakers can't reconcile weakening the SALT cap with progressive goals Lawmakers spend more on personal security in wake of insurrection Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections MORE (N.J.), Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyLobbying world Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority Biden needs to tear down bureaucratic walls and refocus Middle East programs MORE (N.Y.) and Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarBiden backs effort to include immigration in budget package Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Five takeaways from a bracing day of Jan. 6 testimony MORE (Calif.) all pledged their support to the billionaire, giving Bloomberg a total of 15 congressional endorsements, second to only former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFirst lady leaves Walter Reed after foot procedure Biden backs effort to include immigration in budget package MyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News MORE, who has more than three times that amount.

Each lawmaker has a strong connection — either political or personal — to the former New York mayor, The Associated Press reports.

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For example, Howard Wolfson, Lowey's former chief of staff, was a longtime Bloomberg aide and is now a top adviser to his campaign.

Bloomberg also campaigned for Gottheimer in 2018, and the New York congressman's brother-in-law, Bradley Tusk, managed Bloomberg's mayoral reelection campaign in 2009.

Aguilar, chief deputy whip of the House Democratic Caucus, got support from Independence USA PAC — a Bloomberg political group — during a tough 2014 congressional race.

Aguilar, also a former mayor, cited Bloomberg's knowledge of tough issues “at both the national and local levels” and his “track record as a former mayor on gun safety and climate," according to the AP.

Rival Democrats repeatedly targeted Bloomberg in the debate Wednesday night in Las Vegas, launching attacks in the first minutes of the event.

Updated at 8:46 a.m.