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Bill Thompson concedes race to Bill de Blasio

Bill Thompson, left, is joined by New York

Bill Thompson, left, is joined by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, center, and Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, right, as he announces that he is withdrawing from the New York City mayors race. Credit: Bill Thompson, left, joined by Gov. Cuomo and Bill de Blasio. (Charles Eckert)

UPDATED 3:37 P.M.: Democrats rallied behind Bill de Blasio Monday after runner-up Bill Thompson bowed out of the mayoral race and a unified party geared up to battle Republican Joe Lhota in November.

“If this were a general election, with consequences about the fundamental direction of our city, you can bet I’d fight to the very last vote,” Thompson told the crowd gathered on the steps of City Hall. “But Bill de Blasio and I want to move our city forward in the same direction. ... This is bigger than either one of us.”

Flanked by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and dozens of other party and union leaders, de Blasio said, “There is nothing more beautiful than Democratic unity.”

Thompson’s withdrawal eliminates the prospect of an Oct. 1 runoff election with the city’s 52-year-old public advocate.

Lhota, meanwhile, sought to distinguish himself from de Blasio, who surged to the front of the Democratic field as the candidate to reverse what he called Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “tale of two cities” policies. MORE
 

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