Bill Thompson 'obviously' will talk with the Independence Party
In 2009, Bill Thompson received more votes for mayor on the Democratic line than Mayor Michael Bloomberg received on the Republican line, but Bloomberg prevailed in the unexpectedly close race thanks to the 150,073 votes he secured on the Independence Party line.
Yesterday, Thompson, who is running for mayor again, said he'll seek the Independence Party's support this year.
"Obviously somewhere down the road I'll have conversations with them," he said yesterday morning, standing in the lobby of a Baptist church on Bergen Street. We spoke before the party's annual awards ceremony and fund-raiser in Tribeca later that night.
"No, I won't be at their event today, but I don't rule out sitting down the people from the Independence Party and perhaps talking to them about their line in the future," he said.
Thompson also said, "The Independence Party for the last few elections in New York City has been very helpful in helping to re-elect Mike Bloomberg, but I would assume it's a new era."
For now, the Independence Party's support is up for grabs.
Three potential mayoral candidates attended the group's event yesterday: Council Speaker Christine Quinn and State Senator Malcolm Smith, both Democrats, and former White House Director of Urban Affairs, Adolfo Carrion Jr., a former Democrat who has publicly said he plans to compete for the Republican line and is no longer enrolled in any party.
"A candidate's registration is not a deciding factor for us," Jacqueline Salit, a leader of the Independence Party told me. "That's one of the great things about having fusion politics. But we're very gratified Carrion became an independent and we're very gratified that the three candidates came here today."
Salit, and another leading figure in the party, Lenora Fulani, both told me they were open to talking with other mayoral candidates as well. They said they were interested in hearing mayoral candidates talk about rebuilding New York after Hurricane Sandy, and about electoral reform.
UPDATE: Publisher Tom Allon, a Democrat-turned-Republican said he too would seek the Independence Party's support.
Here are some video excerpts from the event:
"I have declared my independence. I will tell you that it feels good."
"Community matters more than party."
"I grew up in he city in the 1970s. I was a teenager. You know that city. . We can't go back. It's going to require independent leadership."
"The Independence Party around the city is a known factor and a factor that influences a lot of people."
Christine Quinn, regarding Jacqueline Salit:
"Congratulations for all of your work and your focus and persistence and your perseverance. This is a well-deserved award that just begins to recognize all of your efforts."
"As we just saw in the November elections, independent voters are an increasingly important voice in politics. That voice is growing louder every single day."