Former Comptroller Bill Thompson spent the day criss-crossing Upper Manhattan, trying to the rally black and Latino voters he’s counting on less than a week before the primary.
For part of the afternoon, the mayoral candidate, who is polling in second place, was shepherded through Harlem by a local Imam and other African leaders, who greeted residents and business owners to the beat of traditional West African drums.
“The next mayor of New York!” declared Imam Konate Souleimane, dressed in a traditional white robe, at a small gathering before the group hit the streets, where he stressed the need for leaders to get their communities out to vote.
Rev. Calvin Butts III, who notably endorsed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s re-election bid four years ago, is officially throwing his support to the man Mr. Bloomberg defeated in this year’s mayoral race: former Comptroller Bill Thompson.
The endorsement–announced in Harlem at the intersection of 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard–is part of Mr. Thompson’s effort to consolidate the minority vote as he faces off against his two top rivals: Democrats Bill de Blasio and Christine Quinn. Indeed, at today’s event, the influential Harlem minister said Mr. Thompson, the only black candidate in the race, would be able to uniquely deliver for the African-American community.
“I think he brings a perspective that we all need,” said Mr. Butts. “What do I say to African-Americans? I say, ‘Yes, I stand with Bill Thompson’ because I think he is the enlightened African-American who can provide great leadership for this city.”
Brownsville—overwhelmingly poor, black and churchgoing—would seem like an incongruous place for Anthony Weiner to mount his comeback attempt, but the Brooklyn neighborhood was an outpost of goodwill for the mayoral candidate last week.
At a local senior center, the wiry ex-congressman dished out sugar cookies while gabbing about the foibles of raising a young son. The next day, it was the same routine at another nearby senior facility. Not discussed, unless reporters asked, was the latest sexting scandal that sunk Mr. Weiner’s mayoral campaign in the polls.
“I like Mr. Weiner,” said Keith Floyd, a chef at the Brownsville center. “I think he deserves a chance. Everybody makes mistakes in their life.”
“There’s uncounted congressmen that have done the same thing. He just got caught. … I think he’s more down-to-earth. I believe he’s totally genuine.”
On the day Scott Stringer debuted his first television ad of the comptroller’s race, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer opened up a 19-point lead over the Manhattan borough president, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.
The ex-governor, who resigned in the wake of prostitution scandal five years ago and now faces strong opposition from the Democratic establishment, now leads Mr. Stringer 56 percent to 37 percent, according to the poll. Previously, the firm found a surprisingly close, 4–point race between the two.
Bill Thompson is the only black candidate in the mayor’s race.
This Sunday morning, he did more to call attention to this fact than he has thus far in the campaign.
Mr. Thompson–still troubled by the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the July 13 not guilty verdict for the shooter, George Zimmerman–took to a Brooklyn church to give a grandiose speech on race relations in New York City and the nation writ-large, as well as how the country should proceed moving forward.