At 4 p.m. yesterday, he gathered with a former Republican senator and conservative Jewish leaders in a roped-off avenue in Crown Heights. An hour later and just a mile away, he was standing in a Bed-Stuy shopping plaza, rallying with liberal African-American congressmen and members of the teacher’s union.
Former Comptroller Bill Thompson, a Democratic candidate for mayor, is counting on this peculiar combination for Tuesday, hoping to forge seemingly disparate groups into a winning coalition.
Anthony Weiner, known to spar with the occasional heckler, got into his biggest shouting match to date today.
After an Orthodox Jewish man called Mr. Weiner a “scumbag” as he was leaving a Boro Park bakery, the mayoral hopeful furiously spun around to confront the voter.
“Very nice, very nice, in front of kids. That’s a charming guy right there,” Mr. Weiner, chewing on cookies, uttered during one of several campaign stops on a visit to the neighborhood on the eve of the Jewish New Year.
An Orthodox Approach
As a yarmulke-wearing Bill Thompson showed on a muggy Monday night, the road to victory in the mayor’s race may be partially paved by men with frock coats and billowing beards.
The ex-comptroller met with some influential rabbis to earn their blessings and, more importantly, the votes they potentially carry. Nibbling on rugelach and sipping alcohol, Mr. Thompson schmoozed with five leaders from various religious sects spanning Williamsburg and Boro Park, where burgeoning Orthodox Jewish populations are looking to make a dent in next Tuesday’s election.
For much of the rest of the week, Hasidic rabbis will be praying during Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, making the night a unique opportunity for Mr. Thompson as the September 10 Democratic primary looms just one week away.
He claimed he was the 11,000-vote man.
A power broker in the Hasidic Jewish community boasted today that his endorsement would deliver more than 10,000 votes to his chosen candidate, former comptroller Bill Thompson, who is now locked in a tight mayoral race with just two weeks to go until primary day.
“People trust the leadership in the community and people understand they have been here for years,” said Rabbi David Niederman, leader of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, at a press conference this afternoon touting his support. “This community, thank God, has not only survived but really progressed over here so people believe [the leadership] made the right decision.”
Tell us how you really feel, Joe Lhota.
The former MTA chair joined his fellow Republican candidates at a mostly-genial mayoral forum tonight, where they lobbed bombs at common enemies like their Democratic rivals and agreed on virtually all policy fronts. But the good will ended when rival John Catsimatidis said he “liked” Mr. Lhota while declaring himself the most viable contender in the race.
“You don’t show it,” Mr. Lhota groused, pointing to the flood of negative advertising recently launched by the billionaire businessman’s campaign. “You sure spend a lot of money to piss me off.”
Love from Dov
Assemblyman Dov Hikind wanted every last soul in Midwood to vote for Bill Thompson.
The Brooklyn pol, a powerbroker in the Orthodox Jewish community, aggressively escorted Mr. Thompson through a Midwood shopping strip today, buying him gefilte fish, low-carb muffins and even enticing the typically demure mayoral candidate to rush into traffic and shake hands with an idling bus driver.
“Things are different, things have changed, the support now is absolutely amazing,” said Mr. Hikind, comparing Mr. Thompson’s support in the Jewish community today versus four years ago, when he narrowly lost to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “You can see it on the street, from all people by the way, not just the Jewish community … The bottom line is this: I support people who I think are going to be best. I don’t look at poll numbers.”
Wearing a yarmulke and a wide grin, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer stopped by Brooklyn’s Boro Park neighborhood Friday, visiting two businesses and even purchasing prayer books for the Jewish New Year.
Mr. Spitzer met with local leaders for several hours, attempting to peel away coveted Orthodox Jewish votes from his opponent, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who, like Mr. Spitzer, is Jewish. Though raised in a secular household, Mr. Spitzer made every effort to convey to Jewish voters and the press that he was still in touch with his roots.
Two mayoral candidates, Bill de Blasio and Christine Quinn, responded aggressively after a heckler berated Mr. de Blasio last night for defending gay rights.
“Shame! Shame!” yelled an Orthodox Jewish man at the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition forum as Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, attempted to explain why a Democratic rival, Erick Salgado, was wrong for criticizing gay pride parades.
The race between veteran Councilman Lew Fidler and Republican upstart David Storobin was a vicious campaign that included charges of pedophilia, Nazism and election day allegations “a Storobin thug” ran over a Fidler volunteer with a van. A police spokesperson subsequently told The New York Times the claim about the van proved to be untrue. In the end, Mr. Storobin was up by 120 votes in the final pre-paper ballot tally, but both candidates declared victory and the campaign is headed to a close count and court fight. However, as Mr. Storobin pointed out in a speech at his election night party, no one expected him to come close.
“We counted 100 percent of the votes but there are still some votes, some paper votes that are left, but based on all the info that we have, I’m proud to say that we, all of us, won this race. There may be recounts and we may have to wait for official results for a few days, or maybe even a couple of weeks, but like I said, the good won, we won,” Mr. Storobin said. “Tonight, we’ll go to bed as winners when nobody outside believed that we had a shot to even compete, when every story about this campaign began with Lew Fidler, the heavy favorite.”