Tony Avella, a councilman from Queens who is unknown to most New York voters, is delighted by the decreasingly ridiculous-sounding prospect of being the unchallenged Democratic nominee to take on Mike Bloomberg for mayor.
"I made a prediction some time ago that I thought either Weiner or Thompson, one of them would decide not to do it," said Avella. "Whether or not they both get out, well, you'll have to ask them. But the rumors keep circulating. It's amazing that these rumors will not go away."
He may be in the single digits among registered Democrats, but he's not wrong, either.
Anthony Weiner, who had pretty much withdrawn from the race already, recently went a step further. And despite that, Bill Thompson, who is very much interested in running—and who has tried, unsuccessfully, to ease Avella out of the race—still can't get away from rumors that he himself might drop.
(In an interview for a story late last month, I asked Thompson if he was at all concerned about the ambient speculation that he was foundering, and that Representative Anthony Weiner was merely waiting him out before jumping back into the primary.
"The only people who are saying that are the Bloomberg people and the rumor is being spread by the Bloomberg people," Thompson told me.
The Bloomberg campaign, as I reported, would actually rather that Thompson continue with his plans to run than face the possibility of Weiner, an annoying opponent, jumping back into the race.)
So, as outlandish as the prospect may seem, Avella is hopeful that, in the end, he will be the uncontested Democratic standard-bearer.
"The day Mike Bloomberg succeeded in overturning term limits, one of the political reporters called me and said, 'Do you realize there is a good possibility you'll be it, because you'll be the last person standing?'"
He laughed, before turning momentarily serious.
"I look forward to running against Mike Bloomberg," he said. "If there is no primary, that's all the better."
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