After seven months, they’ve made it official.
Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, the Democratic nominee for mayor in 2005, formally threw his support to former Comptroller Bill Thompson this afternoon–support that dates back to at least December of last year. Mr. Ferrer said his then-job as interim head of the MTA prohibited him from making political endorsements at the time.
“Something happened in December,” Mr. Ferrer told Politicker when asked about the timing. “I became acting chairman of the MTA and I did not believe it was appropriate for me to opine on any political campaign while I held that position. I’m sure you can understand that. That’s not a requirement in law, that’s my requirement.”
“Now that I’m relieved of that responsibility,” he added, “I am relieved to be beside my friend Bill Thompson.”
The endorsement event comes one day after a Quinnipiac University poll found Mr. Thompson’s support among African-American and Latino voters far below where it needs to be if he wants to emerge victorious in the September 10 Democratic primary. But Mr. Ferrer was in no mood to talk about polls.
“How could you have been so wrong for so many times, then come back to us with a straight face with another poll?” he asked reporters, alluding to polls that dramatically under-estimated Mr. Thompson support during his 2009 mayoral bid. “Things tighten up in August. They get really serious right after Labor Day.”
“They tend to under-measure,” Mr. Thompson added. “It isn’t accurate when it comes to black and Latino voters. They just really continue to miss the point time and time again.”
Veteran Rep. Charlie Rangel, also in attendance this afternoon, further touted Mr. Thompson’s ability to relate to black issues.
“No matter what you’re able to do in Washington, you need an anchor,” Mr. Rangel said. “You need someone in New York City that understands exactly what the problems are, what the feelings are. And quite frankly, no matter how much money you have, unless you come from a family like Willy does, his dad–you have a feeling–it means you don’t have to start with ground zero and talk about slavery and talk about lynching and all those things.”
Mr. Rangel also took the opportunity to take a couple of potshots at the current poll leader, former Congressman Anthony Weiner.
He said that, while “no one can challenge the fact” that Mr. Weiner’s name is well-known, that’s not always a good thing.
“The interesting thing is that–and I don’t think it’s reflected in the poll–that everyone smiles when you mention his name,” he explained. “In other words, it’s more of a cartoon thing–[asking,] ‘Would you believe?’ –than it is comparing him to who really you would want.”
Quinnipiac had no data on how many voters smiled when Mr. Weiner’s name was mentioned.