The Bronx Democratic Party backed Bill de Blasio for mayor yesterday, hoping their seal of approval would carry Mr. de Blasio further than the last Bill they endorsed–vanquished contender Bill Thompson–who conceded the race on Monday.
“Last time we elected a Democratic mayor of the City of New York, I was in college,” reflected Assemblyman Carl Heastie, chair of the Bronx Democratic Party, during a press conference in the northeast Bronx. “There’s some serious issues that are a concern not only to the city but more importantly to the Bronx and Bill [de Blasio] spoke to those issues. And we’re here to make sure the Bronx is united on this journey with him.”
The party, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Díaz Jr., had campaigned enthusiastically for Mr. Thompson, appearing at rallies and senior centers with the former comptroller and unleashing biting criticism against Mr. de Blasio as Election Day neared.
But Mr. Díaz, like Mr. de Blasio, preached the message of Democratic unity as he stood surrounded by a coterie of Bronx pols in front of the Eastwood Manor.
“We’re calling on all Democrats, all Democrats from the Bronx and the City of New York tonight to unite around Bill de Blasio,” said Mr. Díaz, suddenly embracing Mr. de Blasio’s talking points. “We did so because of Bill’s message of inequality, Bill’s message of many New Yorkers being left behind, in many ways those that you see standing with us today, the Bronx elected officials, we represent a good deal of those individuals in New York who have been left behind.”
The county is just the latest of many groups that have flipped their support to Mr. de Blasio since last Tuesday’s primary win. The Democratic county organizations, diminished in power from their 20th century heyday, had snubbed Mr. de Blasio in the first round, with the most powerful operations–Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx–going for Mr. Thompson or the third-place finisher, Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Nonetheless, Mr. de Blasio, now the front-runner in the general election, had only kind words for the party machinery that once rejected him.
“Look, the primary and general election are two different things and I want to say clearly that I’m really moved and appreciative of the kind of unity we’ve seen in the last few days in the Democratic Party,” Mr. de Blasio insisted. “As Democrats, we’ve also seen what it looks like when we’re not unified in the general election. A lot of bad things happened to this city as a result of that.”
Mr. de Blasio faces Republican Joe Lhota and a slate of independent candidates in the November election.