Congressman Charlie Rangel, hot off his primary triumph over State Senator Adriano Espaillat, implied to Inside City Hall host Errol Louis last night that he never expected former city comptroller Bill Thompson to take the mayoralty–despite endorsing him in 2009 and 2013.
Talking about politicians like Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito who endorsed Mr. Rangel in 2012 but backed his opponent this year, Mr. Louis suggested that the defectors did not believe the incumbent congressman would win re-election this time–and asked the legislator if he ever supported someone “didn’t have a chance in hell of winning, but thought it was the right thing to do.”
“I don’t remember having that discussion with Billy Thompson,” Mr. Rangel said, laughing.
Mr. Rangel went on to say that he felt obligated to support Mr. Thompson even though he was closer to now-Mayor Bill de Blasio, who managed one of the congressman’s re-election efforts in the 1990s.
“I knew de Blasio far better than I ever will know Thompson,” said Mr. Rangel. “I think people know when they talk with me, that I wish you win, but I owe it to you if you’re out there.”
The Harlem lawmaker did credit Mr. Thompson with coming within five percentage points of defeating Michael Bloomberg in 2009.
“The other thing going for Billy Thompson was that he pleasantly surprised everybody with how close he got,” Mr. Rangel said
Mr. Thompson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.