The city’s powerful teachers’ union voted today to endorse Bill de Blasio for mayor–after snubbing him during the Democratic primary in favor of Bill Thompson.
“Mr. Thompson has asked us to support Mr. de Blasio because he knows–as well as Mr. de Blasio knows–the city can no longer afford to go in the direction which it has been going for way too long,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew told reporters gathered tonight at the union’s Lower Manhattan headquarters after its delegate assembly had formerly voted for the second time this election season.
Endorsing Bill de Blasio was a move fraught with risk in May.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was the vaunted front-runner in the mayor’s race, according to the polls. It was widely assumed that former Comptroller Bill Thompson, the only black candidate in the race, would consolidate the minority vote.
But the influential healthcare workers’ union went with Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, who now stands as the all-but-assured Democratic nominee for mayor. Mr. de Blasio repaid their faith by making potential hospital closures a centerpiece of his campaign: in July, he was even arrested for protesting the closures of two Brooklyn hospitals, a move that gave him needed publicity.
Through the Liu-king Glass
Even though he finished a distant fourth in last week’s Democratic primary, Comptroller John Liu was surprisingly upbeat yesterday.
Speaking at a Manhattan “volunteer appreciation party”–he has four more such parties scheduled today–the failed mayoral candidate told Politicker he was ready to look outside of politics for his next gig.
Republican mayoral contender Joe Lhota congratulated Bill de Blasio on securing his party’s expected nomination this afternoon said he’s looking forward to a more mature and vigorous debate.
After weeks of being attacked by his ex-Republican challenger billionaire John Catsimatidis–most recently for saying he would not have shut down subway service to save two stray kittens on the tracks–Mr. Lhota said he was ready to go one-on-one against a candidate who has a dramatically different vision for the City of New York.
Bill Thompson’s mayoral dream has officially ended.
At a City Hall press conference flanked by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and some of Mr. Thompson’s most ardent supporters, including Congressman Charlie Rangel and teachers’ union president Michael Mulgrew, the former comptroller today endorsed his one-time Democratic opponent, Bill de Blasio, in the mayor’s race.
“I am proud to stand here today and support Bill de Blasio to be the next mayor of the City of New York,” said Mr. Thompson.
Exit Stage Right
Bill Thompson will concede the mayor’s race today and endorse front-runner Bill de Blasio, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Mr. Thompson is set to make the announcement at a 11 a.m. City Hall press conference, amid growing pressure from Democratic Party brass–and even some of his own backers—to bow out of the race to avoid a contentious runoff contest and unite the party ahead of November’s general election.
Rev. Al Sharpton welcomed “presumptive” Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio to his Saturday National Action Network rally this morning, where he declared that the identity politics of 20 years ago had given way to a new reality.
“What the election showed the other night is that a lot of the identity politics of 20 years ago, 30 years ago, has now become identity politics of policy,” he told the audience. “Bill Thompson did very well in some white areas, Bill de Blasio did well in some black areas. You can no longer take yesterday’s maps for today’s politics.”
A confident Bill de Blasio brushed off suggestions that the Democratic nomination is in limbo, telling reporters this afternoon that he’s moving full steam ahead, regardless of the final outcome of the mayoral race’s count.
“I don’t feel like I’m in limbo,” declared Mr. de Blasio, speaking to reporters at a lively rally in Brooklyn celebrating a judge’s ruling to keep Long Island College Hospital open indefinitely, to supporters’ enthusiastic applause.
“Can I ask the audience, ‘Do I look like a guy in limbo?’” he asked them.
Anthony Weiner dipped his toe back into the mayor’s race this morning, reflecting on Bill Thompson’s decision to stick it out for a possible runoff election
“Lots of Deja Vu from ’05 watching @BillThompsonNYC figure out runoff call,” tweeted Mr. Weiner. “Even same players. Freddy, Cassidy.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed this morning that he will not weigh in on the mayor’s race–despite having recently called one of the likely contender’s campaign’s “racist.”
“I decided I am not going to make an endorsement in the race,” said Mr. Bloomberg during a truncated appearance on WOR’s John Gambling show, which marked his first interview since the mayoral primary Tuesday night.