Amid speaker frenzy, de Blasio skips a Mark-Viverito event

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Melissa Mark-Viverito. (William Alatriste/NYC Council)
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Bill de Blasio skipped a Christmas party that would have put him on the same stage as the woman he is purportedly pushing to become the next City Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito.

The mayor-elect did not attend the party hosted by the Democratic Club of El Barrio/East Harlem Tuesday night, even though he was the guest of honor.

The event capped a day of flurry surrounding the speaker's race, with de Blasio and his surrogates making calls on Mark-Viverito's behalf, and county leaders who oppose her pushing Councilman Dan Garodnick instead.

By the end of the night, sources on both sides of the battle were claiming they had a majority of the 51 council members required to select the next speaker in the in-house election scheduled for Jan. 8.

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The Christmas party was not listed on de Blasio's public schedule.

"We had invited the mayor-elect, Bill de Blasio; obviously an incredibly busy, busy schedule just before the holidays and heading into the new year," Mark-Viverito said. "But he is someone that we should strongly support, and we did in the election; he is someone that I strongly support being the first councilperson to come out publicly to endorse him."

De Blasio spokeswoman Lis Smith said, "Mayor-elect would have loved to have made it, but it didn't work with his schedule."

The party, held at the Crystal Ballroom at Taino Towers on East 123rd Street, took place as the United Federation of Teachers hosted its holiday soiree at its Lower Manhattan headquarters.

Surrogates on both sides of the battle for speaker were pressuring the 15-20 council members in attendance to back their candidate, sources who attended the party told Capital.