NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — As city election officials continued to count the votes from Tuesday’s Democratic primary for New York City mayor, front-runner Bill de Blasio spent Saturday morning speaking at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network rally in Harlem.
Sharpton, who in 2009 endorsed Bill Thompson — the candidate awaiting the final tally to learn if he’s still alive in the race — called de Blasio “the presumptive nominee.” Sharpton, however, stopped short of endorsing de Blasio.
Sharpton applauded de Blasio for addressing the needs of the black community during his campaign. The public advocate tied Thompson, an African-American, for the lead in the black vote, exit polls showed.
“No one wants to be taken for granted now,” Sharpton said. “If you want me to turn out for you, you’ve got to talk to me about my interests. You’ve got to turn me on before you expect me to turn out.”
De Blasio stressed that he’s looking out for the city’s middle-class and financially strapped residents.
“This election is about so much. It’s about so much,” he said. “You’ve heard my colleagues. You heard them talk about the meaning of what we’re going through at this moment. I think Rev is exactly right to invoke the fifth anniversary of the economic collapse of this country because we still haven’t taken full account to what it meant five years later. But I think people in this room — and I heard every single day out there in each neighborhood, in each borough — what it means to people. It means that folks are struggling to make ends meet.”
Officials in lower Manhattan are spending Saturday validating the 640,000 ballots counted from election night. On Monday, they will count special, absentee and affidavit ballots that may not have been tallied on primary night.
De Blasio is hovering around the 40 percent needed to avoid an Oct. 1 runoff.
Thompson, who finished second Tuesday, has refused to bow out of the race. He reiterated Friday his belief that all votes should be counted in the recanvassing effort, which validates the vote count from more than 5,000 voting machines used on election night. His decision comes despite urging by some fellow Democrats, unions and surrogates that he get behind the campaign of front-runner Bill de Blasio.
The Republican nominee is Joe Lohta, a former deputy mayor to then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Lhota appeared on MSNBC’s “Up” on Saturday morning, saying that his views differ some from most national Republicans.
“I’m very progressive, whether it’s on the issue of choice for women, whether it’s the issue of same-sex marriage or marriage equality — I have been for that,” he said. “I have a very libertarian streak that goes through me, and I actually believe the role of government is not to tell us what to do and what not to do. We as individuals have to make up our minds.”
The general election is Nov. 5.
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