NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Who should get Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s job? Don’t ask him.
For the first time since Tuesday’ primary, Bloomberg spoke on Friday about the next leader of New York City, but said he’s not endorsing anyone in the hotly contested mayoral race.
Over the years he’s endorsed a lot of people in a lot of races, including local candidates for City Council, state Senate and Congress, and outside New York he’s embraced candidates for Washington D.C. mayor, Illinois governor and Massachusetts Senate.
But on a radio show Friday morning he refused to publicly support a candidate to lead New York City.
“I don’t want to do anything that complicates it for the next mayor, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve decided I’m just not going to make an endorsement in the race,” Bloomberg said during his weekly appearance on John Gambling’s show on WOR Radio. “My job is to govern and then to help the next guy. I’ll leave campaigning to the campaigners.”
The decision could be a blow to Republican candidate Joe Lhota, whose chief advisor, Jake Menges, expressed interest in getting the mayor’s support last week.
“The mayor has been fantastic; he’s built on the successes of Rudy Giuliani and we’d be very proud and happy to have his support,” Menges said.
Lhota said he would “talk to the mayor” about it, but on Friday morning, he denied ever asking or even wanting Bloomberg’s blessing, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported.
“I have never asked anybody for an endorsement and I never will,” Lhota said.
That’s not something everyone necessarily believes.
“I think he’s backpedaling. I think he wanted it badly,” political consultant Gerry O’Brien told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
Some political experts think Bloomberg’s decision will help the GOP nominee. It frees him to be critical of Bloomberg, with polls showing many New Yorkers want a change of direction from his 12 years in office, Aiello reported.
“The Bloomberg fatigue killed Christine Quinn, and there was a lot of people, particularly those who would normally be voting for Joe Lhota, who are like ‘c’mon, stop nickel and diming us Mr. Bloomberg,'” O’Brien said.
“Well, it means for Joe Lhota that he doesn’t get some of the negatives that the mayor may be carrying and the good news is that he gets people who care about the mayor voting for him anyway,” Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.
“Lhota, by carving out his own profile, has a chance to win over independents and moderate Democrats who might find [Bill] de Blasio’s lack of experience and ideology problematic,” said Fred Siegel, fellow at the Manhattan Institute and scholar-in-residence at Saint Francis College.
De Blasio finished with about 40 percent of the vote after Tuesday’s primary — the magic number needed to avoid a run-off — but Board of Elections officials said there are still 78,000 paper ballots to tally.
There were 657,000 votes cast by lever machine, so the paper ballots will account for nearly 12 percent of the total.
Thompson said he is not conceding until every ballot is counted.
If de Blasio does not hold 40 percent of the vote, the run-off election is scheduled for Oct. 1.
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