Thompson backers jump ship for de Blasio, but carefully

Bill Thompson, center, in July on the steps of City Hall called for an end to to prosecuting teens as adults. He was supported then by Councilman Fernando Cabrera, left, and Assemblyman Karim Camara, right. Camara had endorsed Thompson and been a vocal supporter of his campaign, but today endorsed Bill de Blasio. Credit: Danielle Tcholakian
Bill Thompson, center, in July was supported then by Councilman Fernando Cabrera, left, and Assemblyman Karim Camara, right. Camara had endorsed Thompson and been active in his campaign, but today endorsed Bill de Blasio. Credit: Danielle Tcholakian

As former supporters of Christine Quinn lined up behind Bill de Blasio on the steps of Borough Hall in Brooklyn today, it seemed even some of Bill Thompson’s supporters had switched allegiances.

Several of Thompson’s most vocal backers came out to endorse de Blasio at a rally announcing widespread support for the Democratic candidate by progressive groups and labor unions.

Among those Thompson defectors were state Assemblymen Walter Mosley, Karim Camara and Rafael Espinal, and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.

Mosley said his change of heart did not come easily, and ”has nothing to do with being against Bill Thompson,” with whom Mosley said he spoke today.

“It wasn’t something I took lightly,” he said. “After careful consideration [and] having my staff break down the numbers and seeing how convincing the victory was and how much Brooklyn really voiced their opinion for the support of Bill de Blasio, I just felt that it was the appropriate thing to do.”

Mosley and Camara were two of Thompson’s most active supporters, and their constituencies comprise some of the Brooklyn districts that the Thompson campaign had depended on winning, but went to de Blasio instead.

“[Elected officials] only serve as mouthpieces to the districts we represent,” Mosley added. “If the district says one thing, I think it’s your obligation as a public servant … to really support the will of the people.”

Mosley and Camara separately expressed the same concern that a special election could be harmful to party unity and prevent the Democratic Party from holding the mayor’s office for the first time in two decades.

Moreover, they both believe de Blasio would win a special election.

“I don’t even think it was a matter of switching [support from Thompson to de Blasio]. I just look at is as making a pragmatic decision,” said Camara, who was careful to note his respect for the way de Blasio’s focus on inequality has resonated with voters. “It’s inevitable that Bill de Blasio will be the nominee whether it’s a runoff or not.”

Mosley said he “commend[s] the public advocate for a fine race.” But when he supported Thompson, Mosley had sharp words for de Blasio, particularly when it was reported that de Blasio concealed some meetings he had with lobbyists.

“Mr. de Blasio continues to prove through his hypocritical behavior and nonsensical campaign promises that he is more concerned with sharp sound bites than actually helping New York’s struggling working families,” Mosley had said.

Today, Mosley dismissed his earlier fighting words.

“Right now, the issue is not me and what I’ve said in the past,” Mosley said firmly. “The issue is getting Mr. de Blasio, the public advocate, to become the next mayor of our great city.”

But Councilman Lew Fidler, who spoke with Mosley on a conference call with reporters regarding de Blasio’s lobbyist meetings, told Politicker that Thompson supporters should wait until all the votes are in next week before abandoning their candidate.

“I would tell them to grow a pair and stand tall,” Fidler said.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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