Bill de Blasio, one of many candidates for public advocate, recently scored a crucial, and unusually early endorsement from the labor-backed Working Families Party.
The endorsement will provide de Blasio a significant boost of campaign support with months still to go before the September Democratic primary. But the race is a heavy lift.
Already, de Blasio is running against candidates who are better-funded (Eric Gioia), or more widely known (Mark Green and Norman Siegel).
In a brief telephone interview late yesterday, I asked the executive director of the Working Families Party, Dan Cantor, why, in a field of strongly credentialed liberals, his group got involved so early.
He told me it's because de Blasio “has a long history with the Working Families Party and many of our affiliates. So, this is one of those cases where it was a pro-de Blasio vote, rather than an anti-anybody else vote.”
De Blasio has long held strong ties to unions. (His mother was also a labor organizer).
Cantor added that the Park Slope councilman also “helped with the formation of the party in 1998,” so there was a feeling that the party “needed to try to help him.”
Cantor, referring to the field of public advocate candidates, said for de Blasio, “It’s an uphill battle.”
De Blasio, for his part, said he was delighted to have the endorsement, saying, “Democratic primary voters care deeply about who the Working Families Party is supporting.”
He was also careful to note that it’s “wonderful to have the line in the general election," which means, if you miss the message, that he either expects to win the primary, or he's going to run no matter what.