For Bill Thompson, the Bronx is burning–for his attention.
Just four days before the September primary, the Democratic mayoral candidate is in the midst of spending his full Friday–from dawn until dusk–shuffling between at least a dozen publicized events in the borough, visiting seniors, public school parents, union members, African leaders and capping it all off with a block party with Willie Colon later this evening.
Because every minute of a candidate’s time is important at this late stage in the game, the intense scheduling highlights a central element of the Thompson game plan: racking up large vote totals in black and Latino neighborhoods, many of which can be found in the Bronx.
“He’s spending a day in my borough. He continues to show his commitment,” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. told Politicker at the Bronx Works Senior Center, where Mr. Thompson campaigned earlier today. “As you will see the people of the Bronx, we totally love him, not just because of what he says he’s going to do as mayor but because of the track record, the history, the experience, the integrity. He’s been a friend to the Bronx.”
As Mr. Thompson entered the senior center, which was decorated with artificial butterflies and Hawaiian-style garlands, nearly one hundred black and Latino seniors greeted him with smiles and wide eyes.
“We will not make cuts to our senior citizens,” Mr. Thompson promised as some seniors whipped out their phones to take photos. “When people didn’t want to live here, you stayed … You were the ones who kept the Bronx going when everyone left,” he told them.
Maria Lake, 83, a native of Dominican Republic, said that she planned to for Mr. Thompson because he seemed like a candidate who would stay true to his word.
“I’ll vote for you, but don’t forget me when you win,” she said, explaining, “When they win, they forget about us.”
But the borough president told Politicker that voters like Ms. Lake could count on Mr. Thompson to not “put Bronx to the side” when there are tough decisions to make.
“It’s not to say that we’re gonna get everything we want out of Mayor Thompson, but all we want is a fair shake,” he said. “That’s something that the Bronx … has seldom seen in the past.”