De Blasio Lavishes Praise on Former Rivals

Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Getty)

Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Getty)

Bill de Blasio dropped by the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club’s annual dinner and dance last night, lavishing praise on the former rivals that once attempted to thwart his bid.

Mr. de Blasio, the overwhelming front-runner in the mayor’s race, extensively commended the get-out-the-vote operation of the storied Democratic club–even though they tried, and failed, to elect Bill Thompson in the primary.

“I’ve never seen a club do more in terms of organizing and turning out a vote, in terms of making sure that nothing was left to chance,” Mr. de Blasio said at the tony El Caribe in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. “This club I honor because they don’t do it ‘sorta, kinda.’ Members of the TJ Club know you organize block by block and you make sure everything is going to happen the way it’s supposed to.” (Though the club backed Mr. Thompson, Mr. de Blasio won their home turf–the 59th Assembly District–by about 1,400 votes.)

Despite his dominating lead in the polls, Mr. de Blasio urged those present to deploy their organizing powers on his behalf.

“The poll numbers are encouraging. They’re lovely to look at, my dear friends. But we’re Democrats. We’re born with a little bit of an edge,” he continued. “We’ve learned the hard way a few too many times, haven’t we?”

Mr. de Blasio also reserved kind words for Councilman Lew Fidler, a former colleague and bitter rival. A decade ago, Mr. de Blasio organized a coup to oust Mr. Fidler from his position leading the City Council’s Brooklyn delegation and throughout the primary season, Mr. Fidler, a Thompson supporter, was one of Mr. de Blasio’s more vociferous critics–seemingly never forgetting the past slight.

“Lew has served with extraordinary distinction in the City Council,” the Gracie Mansion hopeful said of Mr. Fidler, who was not present because he was recovering from coronary bypass surgery.

Mr. de Blasio then cited the pair’s mutual passion for homeless youth services: “He looked out for a group of people who were often forgotten but who needed the help of government more than anyone, and that was homeless and runaway youth. And Lew was their champion he deserves all of our praise for the way he stood up for them.”

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