Ex-Hamilton mayor Larry Di Ianni has announced his support for his former rival Fred Eisenberger.

With Eisenberger standing at his side, Di Ianni made the endorsement during a Wednesday morning news conference at the Powerhouse restaurant in Stoney Creek. 

"He’s tried to create a team, and sometimes even a team of rivals — which strengthens, I think, and shows a maturity and leadership," Di Ianni told a group of less than a dozen campaign officials and reporters.

Eisenberger called Di Ianni a “great friend” and thanked him for his support.

“I'm really look forward to working with you, Larry, on the campaign,” he said. 

He said the role Di Ianni will play hasn’t yet been decided. 

"We haven’t worked out specifics. It’d be spectacular if we both put our shoulder to the wheel to make our city better," said Eisenberger. 

Di Ianni, who served as Hamilton’s mayor from 2003 to 2006, lost to Eisenberger in the 2006 mayoral election.

Current mayor Bob Bratina beat out both men in the 2010 vote, with Di Ianni edging out Eisenberger by fewer than 1,500 votes to secure second place.

Di Ianni had said he was considering running for the mayoralty in October's municipal election, but announced in April that he would not be entering the race

He said Eisenberger's investments in the city's economic development office and his "balanced approach" to weighing the interests of urban and suburban communities were key factors in the endorsement. 

"I firmly believe that unless you have a healthy city in terms of employment, providing job opportunities for Hamiltonians and businesses, you can’t have the types of social programs that we need," Di Ianni said.

"Fred’s commitment to that, for me, is paramount."

McHattie responds

Mayoral candidate Brian McHattie responded to the endorsement in a Wednesday news release a made a bid to cast himself as "the guy to deliver new ideas for a new Hamilton."

"I think it’s time for a newer, fresher approach to leadership in the mayor’s chair in Hamilton," he said. "Instead of revisiting the past, we need a new mayor for a new Hamilton.

"We’ve been missing a boldness of thinking and boldness of action for too many years."