The Case Against ‘Two-Term White Incumbents’

Bill Thompson and others just spoke to reporters outside City Hall, saying they hoped to persuade the federal Justice Department to block last year’s term-limits extension, which they say will have a “chilling” effect on minorities running for office.

Tomorrow is the soonest the D.O.J. could issue a decision on whether the term-limits extension unfairly impacts minority candidates and should be prohibited.

At the event, Attorney Randy Mastro said that since 1993, no minority running for office has unseated a white incumbent. Mastro repeated the phrase “two-term white incumbent” several times at the event, referring to Michael Bloomberg, Marty Markowitz, Helen Sears, Alan Gerson and others.

At the event, I asked Thompson if the confidence he’s expressed in his bid against Bloomberg in any way undermines the “chilling” effect argument he and his supporters are making to the D.O.J.

He said it an issue that was bigger than him and his mayoral aspirations.

“I’m confident I’m going to win for mayor,” he said. “But this isn’t just about me and it’s not just about the mayoral. This is about other races also. This is about Council races. You heard about borough president races. It’s not just about me. It’s about other people. It’s about the City of New York.”