HE'S OUT: Nearly a week after de Blasio received more than 40% of the Democratic primary vote, Bill Thompson stepped aside. 'Today I am proud to stand next to a great New Yorker and throw my full support behind him.'
By Adam Edelman , Jennifer Fermino AND Greg B. Smith / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013, 9:21 AM
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013, 3:05 PM
Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News
Gov. Cuomo (center) raises the hands of mayoral candidates Bill de
Blasio (Cuomo's right) and Bill Thompson after Thompson threw his
support behind the public advocate's campaign for mayor.
Mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson threw in the towel Monday, urging all his supporters to do everything they could to make his rival, Bill de Blasio, the next mayor of the city of New York.
Standing on the steps of City Hall, the building he’d hoped to occupy, Thompson conceded defeat even as the city Board of Elections continued tallying tens of thousands of uncounted votes from last Tuesday's Democratic primary.
"Today I am proud to stand next to a great New Yorker and throw my full support behind him," Thompson said, with de Blasio at his side. "And I ask every single person who campaigned for me, supported me, and voted for me, to do the same thing.
De Blasio, the city's public advocate, thanked Thompson for his support.
RELATED: RAYMOND KELLY UNLIKELY TO STAY NYPD COMMISSIONER
David Handschuh/New York Daily News
The governor reportedly helped persuade the Thompson to step down. Election workers reportedly had 78,000 paper ballots left to count Monday morning.
"For years, I've had the honor of working with Bill and in this city, in this party, there's no man of greater integrity. ... . “I am profoundly honored, I am profoundly humbled to receive the support of Bill Thompson.”
Dozens of prominent Democrats attended the 11 a.m. news conference, including Gov. Cuomo and the Democratic nominee for city controller, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
Thompson's concession sets up a general election matchup pitting de Blasio against Republican Joe Lhota, presenting voters with two distinct visions of how the city should move forward after 12 years of Michael Bloomberg as mayor.
RELATED: THOMPSON'S BIG ENDORSEMENTS DIDN'T TRANSLATE TO VOTES
Marcus Santos/New York Daily News
Thompson conceded Monday — and within hours, a wave of Democrats began throwing their weight behind de Blasio.
De Blasio received the most votes in Tuesday's primary, but there was doubt whether he had more than the 40% needed to avoid a runoff election with Thompson, who finished a distant second. The initial, unofficial vote count showed that de Blasio received 40.3% of the vote, to 26.2% for Thompson.
Thompson, the former city controller, decided to concede after a re-canvassing of voting machines over the weekend found de Blasio’s tally was holding steady.
“The numbers really didn’t change,” said one source who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity. “He could see where it was going.”
After completing its re-canvassing of the voting machines, the Board of Elections Monday began counting the 78,000 paper ballots that were submitted in the election. However, those results were expected to mirror the machine tally.
RELATED: THOMPSON DOWN BUT NOT OUT
David Handschuh/New York Daily News
Thompson hugs de Blasio on Monday following the press conference. On Primary Night Thompson had vowed to keep fighting until every vote was counted.
"What Bill Thompson is saying today, is he is going to put aside his own personal ambitions ... in honor and respect of that shared [Democratic] vision. And we applaud him, and we congratulate him. It can be much harder to step back, than to step forward," Cuomo said at City Hall.
"And it takes a man of substance, it takes a man who really believes in public service, and believes in the principals of the Democratic Party to actually do it and that's what Bill Thompson is doing today."
The governor’s prominent role in Thompson’s decision puts him in an unusual spot since he appointed Lhota as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. After insisting de Blasio will do a “superb job” as mayor, Cuomo told reporters he didn’t want to “take anything away from Joe Lhota.”
“I’ve worked with him,” he said. “He is really a professional.”
In Washington, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), issued a statement lauding the show of unity in New York.
“With the primary behind us, Democrats are committed to lining up behind Bill and ensuring that he is elected the first Democratic Mayor in New York City in two decades," she said.
On a mobile device? Click here to watch the video.
The Daily News live blog of the Bill Thompson's press conference: Click here to read.