a bronx tale
The Bill Thompson Show
For Bill Thompson, the Bronx is burning–for his attention.
Just four days before the September primary, the Democratic mayoral candidate is in the midst of spending his full Friday–from dawn until dusk–shuffling between at least a dozen publicized events in the borough, visiting seniors, public school parents, union members, African leaders and capping it all off with a block party with Willie Colon later this evening.
Bill Thompson’s mayoral campaign shifted into high gear yesterday, embarking on a dizzying five-borough, 24-hour tour that took him from the Staten Island ferry to Bronx meat freezers into the wee hours of the morning.
Politicker hung out with Mr. Thompson from 2 a.m. to past 7 a.m. on this journey, where Mr. Thompson, grinning and sipping coffee, maintained his stamina well into the morning, hoping to dispel the sleepy-campaigner branding from his 2009 bid.
In perhaps his most defiant campaign appearance to date, Anthony Weiner delivered an impassioned defense of his scandalous mayoral bid, persuading at least one hostile Bronx audience member to consider backing him over his rivals.
“You know, I wonder sometimes, why are my opponents so eager to get me out of the race?” Mr. Weiner, his voice suddenly soaring, asked last night. “If they believe their ideas are better than mine, if they believe their record is better than mine, if they believe their character is better than mine, …. let them stand up and say it. At a certain point, you got to say, ‘Look, I don’t quit!’ New Yorkers don’t quit! I’m not going to go into the corner and curl up because someone found out something embarrassing about me.”
a bronx tale
In the middle of a mayoral forum in the Bronx last night, Anthony Weiner announced, for unexplained reasons, that he would be leaving early.
The murmurs in the crowd erupted into outright disgust as a phalanx of cameramen and reporters stampeded from the second floor church room to grill Mr. Weiner on his way out, leaving the forum, once packed with media, virtually uncovered.
A group of six campaign staffers standing on the corner of 149th Street and 3rd Avenue in the Bronx offered flyers to pedestrians with mixed results as they awaited for Eliot Spitzer’s delayed arrival.
One campaigner, stationed outside an electronics store that switched between playing Usher and primarily Spanish-language music for about half an hour, attempted to give a flyer to a passerby. The passerby rejected it, saying something derogatory in Spanish.
“Glad you didn’t understand what he said,” she told Politicker.
In every way, last night’s Bronx mayoral forum, like everywhere else since he admitted Tuesday to continuing his infamous online affairs, was reminiscent of the first days on the campaign trail for Anthony Weiner.
Mr. Weiner, trying to keep calm, was in the eye of a media storm.
Cameramen had staked out a road leading to the auditorium’s entrance, waiting to ambush him with questions about the controversy. When he emerged, a frenzied scrum swarmed, overshadowing rivals who openly complained about the lack of coverage lent to the campaign issues they cherish.
a bronx tale
Adriano Espaillat could not go a single day without a text message, email or phone call from a mayoral campaign operative eager to tout his or her candidate’s momentum. His last name doesn’t carry the weight of a Clinton or Cuomo, but the Manhattan state senator was like Helen of Troy to the many political strategists and surrogates clashing in the most competitive Democratic mayoral primary in more than a decade.
“At the beginning, it felt special. Now it’s very taxing,” Mr. Espaillat told Politicker of the lobbying efforts in the days before making up his mind. “I get phone calls, text messages, emails. I get surrogates calling constantly, union leaders, activists and even friends I know, personal friends involved in the campaigns.”
“They call every day. Every single day,” he marveled.
Strongly Worded Letters
Nelson Castro and Victor Pichardo have a few things in common. They’re both ambitious, Dominican-American and hand-picked candidates of the Bronx Democratic machine.
But Mr. Pichardo, 28, is hoping to traverse a very different path than Mr. Castro, the fallen former Bronx assemblyman revealed in April to have been a wired-up informant for almost his entire Albany tenure.
Forced to resign his West Bronx seat in April, Mr. Castro has created a rare open race in the borough where the diplomatic Mr. Pichardo, backed by the Bronx Democratic Party and powerful labor unions like the Hotel Trades Council, is poised to win in September.
I want candy
One City Council member was not pleased with a televised mayoral debate held on Wednesday, but her ire was reserved for the questioned asked, not the answers given.
In a letter obtained by Politicker, Councilwoman Annabel Palma slammed NY1, NY1 Noticias and the Latino Leadership Institute, who hosted the debate focused on Latino issues. Specifically, Ms. Palma accused the organizations of turning the debate from “substance” into “farce.”
Albany is apparently a sweet place to be.
In his latest “What You Should Know” missive, State Senator Rubén Díaz Sr. wrote that the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of breakaway Democrats governing the State Senate with Republicans, is dominating Albany and gobbling up all of the “candies” that Democrats can’t feast upon any more.