De Blasio readies for a run-off, cites ‘Clinton family’

De Blasio at a rally for LICH. (Azi Paybarah)
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In his only public appearance on Friday, Bill de Blasio said his campaign is "strategically prepared" for a potential run-off election against Bill Thompson.

"He has every right, if he wants to pursue the full count, he has every right," de Blasio said, after a press conference outside Long Island College Hospital. "I respect Thompson. I've worked with him a long time. That's his right but we are continuing to build our campaign."

De Blasio held a unity rally yesterday, showing off supporters who had previously backed both Christine Quinn and Thompson, but the show of force did little to dissuade Thompson, who emerged from a strategy meeting with supporters last night to demand that all the votes be counted, in the hope that the additional ballots would drag de Blasio below the 40-percent threshold for avoiding a run-off.

Thompson sent out a statement to reporters, right around the time de Blasio was addressing the media in Brooklyn.

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“As a Democracy, our top priority must be that every vote be counted," Thompson said in the statement. "Today we begin that process with the Board of Election’s recanvass of all machine votes. We expect that process to move forward as accurately and expeditiously as possible."

De Blasio dismissed a question about whether a second-place finisher should concede for the good of the party. "You can't tell a candidate what to do. It's each candidate's choice," he said.

De Blasio said he is "very comfortable with the situation" and that the campaign had been preparing for a run-off all along.  "Everything is strategically ready for a run-off," he said.

Asked if he was "disappointed" by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's announcement this morning that he won't endorse in the race, de Blasio joked that he had been "waiting by the phone," before calling it "an admirable and appropriate act."

I asked de Blasio about reports that Bill and Hillary Clinton are prepared to support him in a general election, and whether that would present a challenge, given their positive relationship with Bloomberg, who de Blasio has criticized throughout the campaign.

"I appreciate the sheer complexity of your question," he joked, before recounting his years working for both Clintons.

"They both offered congratulations," he said of their phone calls. "They both offered extraordinarily helpful advice. And we left it at that. ... Anything in the future has to be worked out in the future."

But de Blasio said it would be "wonderful" if they decided to campaign with him.

"I don't think there is any contradiction," he said. "I think it's true President Clinton worked very well with mayor Bloomberg. They had a lot of common ground. But I also am proud to come from the Clinton family."