NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — There has been a stunning development in the race for New York City mayor. Tens of thousands of ballots have yet to be counted, leaving open the possibility that there could be a runoff to pick a Democratic Party nominee.
Bill Thompson was urged by supporters to stay in the 2013 mayoral race until all the votes are counted – and that was before the bombshell discovery Thursday that there are tens of thousands of ballots – perhaps as many as 70,000, maybe more — that have yet to be tallied, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
“I want to make sure that every voice is heard, that every vote is counted why because that’s why you run a race. That’s why we’re out here — because you want to make sure that every vote is counted,” Thompson said.
The Board of Elections told CBS 2 that there are nearly 54,000 paper ballots from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx that still have to be opened. Queens had yet to report as of Thursday afternoon and as many as 14,000 absentee ballots could still arrive before next week’s deadline, Kramer reported.
And although Thompson is steadfast in insisting he’s still in the race there is intense pressure on him to quit in the name of party unity.
Front-runner Bill de Blasio, who had 40.3 percent of the vote from 99 percent of the precincts counted after Tuesday’s primary, picked up a few more endorsements Thursday, from some groups that had backed Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who finished third in the primary. Late Wednesday night, the building service workers’ union, SEIU Local 32 BJ, endorsed de Blasio.
“The RWDSU is proud to endorse you, Bill,” said Stuart Applebaum, president of the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union.
The pressure coming from team de Blasio itself, which held a rally on the steps of Borough Hall with unions and public officials who had endorsed other candidates but are now lining up behind him.
“Bill, some of us took a different road on phase one, but I must tell you that you exemplify the best of this city,” Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz told de Blasio.
Thompson said he will stay in the race even if after all the ballots are counted, de Blasio is at 39 percent.
At his rally in front of about 300, the public advocate sounded sure he will be the Democratic nominee.
“To all of those who join us today, I say I am thrilled to have the reinforcements around that will make this a winning campaign,” de Blasio said. “We’re all ready for progressive change in New York City.”
Kramer spoke to the de Blasio camp later Thursday afternoon. Members said they are confident that even after all the votes are counted they will have enough to avoid a runoff.
Meanwhile, the Thompson campaign sent a letter to the Campaign Finance Board demanding that it allow both de Blasio and Thompson to raise funds in anticipation of a runoff.
Quinn was asked whether she thinks Thompson should step aside from a potential run-off for the nomination.
“That’s a decision for him to have to make. I think clearly I’ve made very clear I’m going to enthusiastically support the Democratic nominee,” Quinn told reporters including WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb on Thursday.
She added, “I think it’s clear to most folks that that person is going to be Bill de Blasio.”
As for Quinn’s future plans, she said “there’s another chapter but I haven’t started to write it yet.”
As For The GOP …
Republican mayoral nominee Joe Lhota was in Cambria Heights, Queens Thursday morning followed by a town hall meeting in lower Manhattan.
Lhota, whose party is outnumbered by Democrats 6-to-1 in the city, is trying to project an aura of stability to independents, moderates and business leaders wary of de Blasio’s fiery rhetoric.
Thursday afternoon, Lhota spoke with WCBS 880’s Steve Scott in the Eye On Politics segment about his win and his campaign platform.
Lhota took a shot at de Blasio’s “Tale Of Two Cities” campaign theme during his victory speech on Tuesday night.
While it remains unclear who Lhota will face in the general election, he continued to attack de Blasio for engaging in what he labeled class warfare.
“Quite honestly, I believe that they’re going to a classic, textbook case of trying to separate the city, of the divide and conquer approach. I’m not going to let it happen,” Lhota told Scott. “I want to be a person who unites the city of New York and not divides us by class. There’s no room for that in this city.”
“What we should be talking about is what we’re going to create affordable housing, what are we going to do to create more jobs, what are we going to do to create New York City being more affordable so that people who are in the middle class or those aspiring to be in the middle class have a chance to survive in this city. Let’s do it positively and not in a negative tone,” Lhota said.
Lhota is a supporter of the controversial stop-and-frisk policy and said if elected, he’d keep it going with some modifications.
“I will lay out an agenda that talks about how the police department will work with the communities and still be able to do the things necessary to keep crime down,” Lhota said.
Lhota has said repeatedly that he will seek Bloomberg’s endorsement. Bloomberg did not publicly back anyone during the primary campaign.
It won’t just be the Democratic nominee and Joe Lhota battling it out for mayor in November.
Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, an independent, said he offers a viable alternative for voters.
“We can have the same warmed-over policies of the 1970s and 80s that Bill de Blasio represents, we can have the same warmed-over approach of the Giuliani era that Joe Lhota represents or we can look to the future to a smart, diverse city that is globally competitive,” Carrion told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.
On the hot-button issue of stop-and-frisk, Carrion said he supports the policy but added it needs some reforms.
“Absolutely change it. Look, it needs fixing but it doesn’t need throwing out,” he told Haskell.
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