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One Bill Remains: Thompson concedes to de Blasio

Stephon Johnson | 9/16/2013, 12:30 p.m.
Bill Thompson

A week after votes were cast for the Democratic nominee for Mayor of New York City, Bill Thompson decided to concede the primary to Bill de Blasio and avoid a possible runoff in October.

Standing with elected officials and union leaders, Thompson mentioned how the New York City Board of Elections wouldn’t be able to complete the vote count until early to mid October (around the time a runoff would happen). Thompson discussed how unfair waiting would be to citizens and also took the BOE to task.

“Today, almost a week after the primaries, we still don’t know the outcome of the election,” said Thompson. “We don’t know if there should be a runoff or if there shouldn’t be a runoff. The reality is right now the votes have not been counted and it is by no means clear when it will be counted. Under those circumstances it is impossible to even campaign let alone offer a meaningful choice to New Yorkers.”

“That’s a disgrace,” Thompson continued. “In the greatest city in the world, in the greatest democracy on earth, we ought to be able to count all the votes.”

After the Primary Night results put de Blasio at just above 40 percent, Thompson vowed to wait until all votes were counted before he conceded. A runoff and a possibly divided Democratic electorate would put Republican Mayoral Nominee Joe Lhota in the driver’s seat come November. Lhota met in secret with National Action Network President Al Sharpton attempting to build coalition in the Democrat-dominated city.

But at City Hall, de Blasio stood thanking Thompson for his support and discussed unity among the party

“I am profoundly honored, I’m profoundly humbled, to receive the support of Bill Thompson, and his extraordinary coalition,” de Blasio said. “And Bill did build an extraordinary coalition, because people had such great respect for him and his years of service, and it means so much that we will be working in partnership for the good of New York City.”

On hand, in a rare public appearance (at least in the five boroughs) was New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor wasn’t necessarily on hand to endorse de Blasio, but to express conciliation to Thompson.

“What Bill Thompson is saying today is that he’s going to put aside his own personal ambition, his own personal hopes, his own personal ideas in honor and in honor and respect of that shared vision and we applaud him and congratulate him,” said Cuomo.

After the news conference, the AmNews spoke with New York Congressman Charlie Rangel who lamented that someone of “high caliber” like Thompson decided to drop out, but he felt it was for the best.

“Bigger than that are the people of the City of New York,” said Rangel. “Bigger than that is making certain that are schools are important. Bigger than that is the end of stop and frisk so that people feel that they have the opportunity to compete. The solidarity that we have is better than if we were further torn apart and reached the same conclusion.

“It takes a lot of guts to throw in the towel before the 15th round and the decision, but it doesn’t surprise me of Billy Thompson,” Rangel continued.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, whose union endorsed Thompson in the primary, told the AmNews that despite the lack of endorsement for de Blasio (he said he’d take the discussion to the higher ups at the UFT), he harbored no ill will over the Democratic nominee’s comments about not being “bogged down” by unions.

“I don’t believe anyone’s ever bogged down by anything” said Mulgrew. “We have a lot of work to do. Both of these men understood clearly that our school system is a really tough shape right now and there’s a lot of work to do. And that’s what we have to concentrate on now. But first we have to get Mr. de Blasio as the mayor of New York City.”

As for Thompson, the 60-year-old has campaigned for New York City Mayor twice and came up short. When asked by reporters if he had any plans in politics or in the private industry, Thompson said “I haven’t figured out what I’ll do next.”