Bill de Blasio brought supporters of former rivals aboard his New York City mayoral campaign Thursday while the second-place Democratic primary finisher, Bill Thompson, decided after a nighttime meeting with his most stalwart allies to hang on in hopes of a runoff.
"It continues to become clearer and clearer that there are tens of thousands of votes that are out there," said Thompson after leaving the meeting at the United Federation of Teachers' lower Manhattan headquarters.
Participants included Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn-Queens), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens-Nassau), state Democratic co-chairman Keith Wright and UFT president Michael Mulgrew. If a final Board of Elections count next week confirms unofficial results that de Blasio finished with slightly more than 40 percent of the vote, Thompson is out and the nomination goes to de Blasio. But Thompson has already faced desertions from his ranks -- elected officials who Thursday switched their allegiance to de Blasio.
"We believe that the votes should be counted. We believe that people should be heard," Thompson said. Added Mulgrew: "We want to see the results of the canvass in two days."
Thompson ceded the public spotlight Thursday to de Blasio and Joe Lhota, the Republican candidate, who did broadcast interviews on his contention de Blasio's "tale of two cities" theme amounts to divisive "class warfare."
On WOR radio, Lhota said the general election matchup will offer voters wildly disparate visions for the city. "Bill has a completely different philosophy than I do on how to deal with public schools, how to deal with public safety, how to create jobs, how to deal with taxes," he said.
The Working Families Party, several labor unions that initially backed Christine Quinn, and some previous supporters of Thompson lined up behind de Blasio, many standing with him as he addressed 300 supporters at a rally outside Brooklyn's Borough Hall.
"This is an extraordinary coalition," de Blasio said. "This is a coalition that knows something about winning elections."
Former Quinn allies, including State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), and Elizabeth Holtzman, a former congresswoman, showed up at the de Blasio rally. So did one-time Thompson supporters state Assemb. Karim Camara and Walter Mosley (both D-Brooklyn) and councilmen Erik Dilan (D-Brooklyn) and Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan).
At City Hall Thursday, Quinn stopped short of endorsing de Blasio, but said: "I think it's clear to most folks that that person [the nominee] is going to be Bill de Blasio."
The city's Board of Elections must verify votes and tally tens of thousands of paper ballots, a process lasting into next week. If de Blasio's total dips below 40, a runoff election will held Oct. 1.