De Blasio holds a rally to show off ex-Thompson and Quinn supporters
On the steps of Brooklyn's Borough Hall this afternoon, Bill de Blasio thanked supporters new and old, but did not directly address the prospect that the Democratic nomination might still require a run-off.
The sprawling event was billed as "A Rally for Progressive Change," and doubled as a unity rally for de Blasio, who received 40 percent of the vote on Tuesday night, but could still slip just below the threshold needed to win the nomination outright as additional ballots are counted over the coming days.
As the event was being held, Thompson was nowhere to be seen, planning only private meetings with aides and supporters to determine his course of action.
De Blasio was joined at the event by some erstwhile supporters of Christine Quinn, who was eliminated from the running on Tuesday night, and at least two supporters of Bill Thompson, who finished with 26 percent of the vote, and is currently weighing whether to proceed with a run-off, should he qualify.
Assemblyman Karim Camara, who endorsed Thompson in May, said voters "from every corner of the city ... united behind De Blasio."
Also at the rally was Assemblyman Walter Mosley, who had previously supported Thompson.
“In an election year with so many tough decisions on crucial issues, we must begin a new chapter today by uniting behind our Democratic nominee for New York City’s next mayor,” Mosley said in a subsequent statement that was emailed to reporters.
A spokesperson for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who previously held Mosley's seat in the Assembly, told Capital that the congressman "continues to support Bill Thompson, and will not comment further until he returns from Washington and has the opportunity to speak directly with the candidate."
Thompson supporters will meet tonight for a "strategy meeting" to assess the race, but some have already shown little appetite for a divisive three-week run-off, which de Blasio would enter as a prohibitive favorite.
Campaign co-chair Meryl Tisch said yesterday that de Blasio's lead looked "decisive," and Rep. Charlie Rangel, another Thompson supporter, told Capital earlier today that he would attend the strategy meeting tonight, but also added some nice words about de Blasio.
"I know one thing, de Blasio handled these things so beautifully well, I can understand how people felt very comfortable endorsing him," Rangel said.
Quinn's supporters, including the Retail Workers union and the Hotel Workers Union, have already rallied to de Blasio's side.
De Blasio, for his part, still sounded like a candidate running in a Democratic primary.
He reiterated the need for progressive change, and specifically for his pre-kindergarten plan, saying, "they are all our children, that's why we need a tax on the wealthy."
He left the rally without answering reporters' questions.
After the event, I asked Rep. Jerry Nadler, who had not previously endorsed in the mayor's race, if there was any issue with Democrats uniting behind de Blasio before while thousands of ballots remain uncounted.
"No, you cant call a halt to the campaign because of the technicalities," he said, adding that it might take a week to get an exact number, but "we know more or less what the count was."
Councilman Jumaane Williams, who endorsed de Blasio just before Tuesday's primary, said it was time to unite behind de Blasio.
"Obviously as a candidate you always, when you're in it, feel you can win," but sometimes, he said, candidates need "a more global view."
"I think there would be a lot more sympathy if the margin was closer," Williams said. "You're splitting hairs. You need to make sure every vote is counted, I understand that. In addition to that, you have to have a more global view of what is good for the city of New York."
UPDATE: In a joint statement that referenced Tuesday's "public referendum," City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and Assemlywoman Gabriela Rosa, both of whom endorsed Thompson in July, threw their support to de Blasio, saying "it is time for us as Democrats to stand behind Bill de Blasio so that we can build the support necessary to elect the first Democratic Mayor in 20 years."