Thompson’s Endorsement Theory: ‘A Lot of Money Being Spent Out There’

Michael Bloomberg is leading Bill Thompson in newspaper endorsements, for those of you keeping track of this sort of thing, 25 to 4.

At a press conference outside City Hall just now, at which Thompson criticized what he described as an unseemly coziness between Conflict of Interest Board members and the Bloomberg administration, he was asked why he’s trailing in this category.

He said that most of the publications didn’t even try to speak with him.

“We’ve spoken to you, but not many,” Thompson said. “Of the 25, I think we’ve sat down with three.”

“I’m not sure whose publication in which I read this, but there’s a large amount of advertising going on in local newspapers this year, well in excess of any other year. So there’s a lot of money being spent out there.”

I reported that Bloomberg’s local ad buyer is Tom Allon, who also publishes the Manhattan Media chain of newspapers. According to the latest campaign finance records, Bloomberg’s campaign has spent $545,191 on print ads.

Later, I asked Thompson if he still thought the endorsement of the three major daily newspapers were up for grabs, in light of the fact that they all supported Michael Bloomberg’s effort to extend term limits legislatively.

“I don’t know where they’re going to go in the end,” he said. “They chose a definite–leaning in a direction before the process even began. I mean, back in September, the three major dailies said they were supportive of the mayor being able to run for a third term. I think it doesn’t take a house to fall on you to understand they’re leaning in a direction.”

UPDATE: Bloomberg spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker emailed to say, “It’s unfortunate that Mr. Thompson has chosen to attack and demean more than two dozen of our city’s leading ethnic and weekly newspapers, but perhaps Mr. Thompson has practiced pay to play politics himself for so long that he assumes everyone operates that way.”

UPDATE: An interested reader reminds me that Thompson’s newspaper endorsements were all for the primary, unlike Bloomberg’s which were for the general election. So, the newspaper score is really 25 to 0 in the Bloomberg-Thompson general election, and 4 to 0 in the Thompson-Tony Avella Democratic primary.