Bill Thompson concedes, clears way for Bill de Blasio in NYC mayor race
With Bill Thompson dropping out of the NYC mayor's race, Democrat Bill de Blasio will face Republican nominee Joe Lhota on Nov. 5. A potential runoff between the two front-runner Democrats was avoided.
New York City mayoral candidate Bill Thompson conceded the Democratic primary race to front-runner Bill de Blasio on Monday, averting a potential runoff and clearing the way for de Blasio to campaign for the general election.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Thompson endorsed de Blasio at City Hall, saying he was proud to support him as the party's nominee.
The potential runoff had loomed as another act in the Democratic drama over choosing a successor to three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg — a fight that would keep Democrats tilting at each other while Republicans and independents looked ahead to the general election. With Thompson, the Democrats' 2009 mayoral nominee, out of the race, de Blasio will face Republican nominee Joe Lhota on Nov. 5.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo played a role in brokering the deal, according to two people familiar with Thompson's decision who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement.
"New York will be an even greater city under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio," Cuomo said at the City Hall event.
In unofficial returns with 99 percent of precincts reporting, de Blasio had had 40.3 percent of the vote — slightly more than the 40 percent threshold needed to win outright. Thompson was second with 26.2 percent.
A runoff had long been expected in the crowded Democratic race. But after last week's unofficial returns put de Blasio above the 40 percent mark, Thompson faced pressure to concede and spare the party further division ahead of the general election.
He had said as recently as Sunday he would wait until the official tally was finished.
"I think that's important. We want to see every vote counted," he said then.
Thompson called the Rev. Al Sharpton, an important city power broker, to inform him early Monday of his decision, according to a person close to Sharpton who was not authorized to speak on his behalf and thus spoke on condition of anonymity.
Sharpton endorsed his longtime friend Thompson during his 2009 mayoral bid but stayed on the sidelines this race, depriving Thompson of a loud advocate in his bid to win the majority of African-American voters. De Blasio and Thompson ran even among African-American voters, according to exit polls.
Sharpton was not expected to attend the morning rally but will likely endorse de Blasio in the coming days, according to the person.