Bill Thompson drops out of NYC mayoral primary, backs rival Bill de Blasio

Liz Goodwin
Yahoo News

New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio sealed up the Democratic nomination for mayor as Bill Thompson, succumbing to party pressure, threw in the towel and backed his rival Monday morning. De Blasio has made the police "stop and frisk" policy and wealth inequality central issues of his campaign.

“I am proud to stand here today and support Bill de Blasio to be the next mayor of the city of New York," said the clearly chagrined Thompson, who was his party's failed nominee against Michael Bloomberg four years ago.

It was a Democratic love fest on the steps of City Hall, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo took center stage to applaud Thompson for putting the good of the party above his "personal ambitions." Cuomo publicly assured Thompson that "he has whatever future that he wants."

"There is nothing more beautiful than Democratic unity," de Blasio said, while accepting Thompson's endorsement.

Thompson, 60, did not hide, however, his outrage over the city's problem-plagued Board of Elections failure to "count every vote." Thompson called it a "disgrace" that thousands of ballots still remain uncounted and that it could take as long as three weeks to complete the tallying. Thompson said the city's voting system needs fundamental reform to ensure every New Yorker's vote is counted in a timely way.

The board still had to count nearly 80,000 paper ballots to determine whether de Blasio had won 40 percent of the Democratic primary vote, which would be necessary to avoid a runoff.

With 99 percent of votes counted, de Blasio led Thompson 40.3 percent to 26.2 percent.

De Blasio will now face off against former MTA chief and former Rudy Giuliani aide Joe Lhota, who won the Republican primary last week. Thompson's decision to bow out allows Democrats to consolidate support around their candidate before the Nov. 5 election.

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