Democrats Choose de Blasio as Thompson Withdraws

By Ananda West, Epoch Times
September 16, 2013 12:57 pm Last Updated: September 17, 2013 8:53 pm

NEW YORK—Democratic leaders, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, threw their support behind Bill de Blasio, as Bill Thompson formally withdrew from the mayoral race Sept. 16.

Thompson, de Blasio, and Cuomo—all wearing blue ties for the occasion—each spoke of the unity and strength of the Democratic Party.

De Blasio’s candidacy presents the party’s opportunity to regain control of City Hall after 20 years of Republican control. He will face off against Republican candidate Joe Lhota Nov. 5 in the general election.

With all of the ballots still not counted, de Blasio received just over the 40 percent required to escape a runoff during the primary. Thompson, in second place, had 26 percent of the vote. Until Monday’s concession, Thompson had said he wanted to wait until every vote was counted.

“Today, almost a week after the primary, we still don’t know the outcome of the election,” Thompson said from behind a podium decorated for the press conference with a de Blasio campaign placard.

“We don’t know if there should be a runoff, or if there shouldn’t be a runoff. We don’t know how many votes I got, or even how many votes were cast,” said Thompson, adding that people should be outraged, and that the situation with the Board of Elections is a disgrace.

Valerie Vazquez-Rivera, director of communication and public affairs for the New York City Board of Elections, said the results of voting from the 5,000 lever machines used in the primary would be released by the end of the day. She added that the board had followed the parameters set by law.

“It is impossible to even campaign, let alone offer a meaningful choice to Democratic voters,” Thompson said prior to conceding his candidacy.

When introducing de Blasio and throwing his support behind the party’s official nominee for mayor, Thompson said, “We share the same fundamental views and values.”

He emphasized improving schools, affordable housing, good jobs, ending racial profiling, protecting constitutional rights, keeping people safe, and the chance for all New Yorkers to have an opportunity to have a good life were some of the important issues for the city.

“Despite the circus, we kept our eyes, hearts, and minds on the things that really mattered,” added Thompson.

On hand for the event were a number of Democratic heavyweights, including Scott Stringer, who recently won the race for city comptroller; Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers—one of Thompson’s biggest supporters; Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers; and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.).

When de Blasio stood to speak, he said he was standing among friends. “There is nothing more beautiful than Democratic unity.”

“For years I have had the honor of working with Bill, and in this city, in this party there is no man of greater integrity,” de Blasio said of Thompson.

De Blasio then thanked Thompson’s supporters by first acknowledging the “real heroes,” the teachers in the audience.

Cuomo, taking the podium last, started with a joke before going on to celebrate the Democratic Party’s strength.

“This city certainly, certainly loves its primary campaign, doesn’t it?” Cuomo said. “We had some doozies this year, but at the end of the day the voters acted … smartly.”

Cuomo acknowledged Stringer’s success winning the party’s nomination and the race for city comptroller over Eliot Spitzer’s privately financed campaign.

Finally, turning his attention to the party’s mayoral nominee, the subject of the day, Cuomo said regardless of the candidate, each shared the same Democratic ideals.

“Bill Thompson is putting aside his own personal ambition, his own personal hopes, and his own personal ideas in honor and in respect of that shared vision,” Cuomo said.

About de Blasio, Cuomo said, “Bill is going to lead this city in the great Progressive, Democratic traditions that made this the greatest city on the planet, the city of New York.”

“It is my honor to support him. It is my honor to celebrate the unity. I believe the best things in New York City are ahead and today we take the first step.”