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'Hamstrung' Bill Thompson campaign argues for runoff funds

The Campaign Finance Board denied funds on the grounds that a runoff is not likely — a decision Bill Thompson's camp said puts them at an unfair disadvantage.

bill thompson The characteristically calm, steady Thompson got fired up at the launch of Caribbean-Americans for Thompson on the campaign trail. Credit: Bess Adler

Out of cash and denied runoff funds by a Campaign Finance Board skeptical there will be a runoff at all, Bill Thompson's mayoral campaign is eerily quiet — publicly.

"We are in a holding pattern waiting for every vote to be counted and every voice to be heard," campaign spokesman John Collins maintained.

Citing "unofficial election results widely published by major media outlets," in particular WNYC and the New York Times, the CFB told the Thompson campaign in a letter on Wednesday that a runoff primary election cannot be "reasonably anticipated."

Today, a lawyer for the Thompson campaign sent a letter in response, arguing their case for runoff funds.

Offering "unofficial results provided" to the campaign by the Board of Elections, Thompson lawyer Robert Bishop calculated a total of 56,157 uncounted votes in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens alone.

"Given that total votes case by voting machine citywide for the Office of Mayor was 647,330, this number of outstanding votes represents approximately 8 percent of the 703,487 votes cast citywide," Bishop explained.


Noting that de Blasio won by 40.13 percent, according to more "unofficial election results" from the BOE, Bishop argued that gives him a lead of a mere 842 votes, "hardly enough of a margin to declare that it is unreasonable to believe that a runoff primary election will occur."

The campaign's concern appears to be that denying the runoff funds implies that Thompson is not a viable candidate for the general election. As the city waits for the final votes to be tallied, that public image will leave the campaign "hamstrung" in its ability to fundraise and campaign.

"All the while Mr. de Blasio will have been able to campaign for the general election, which of course will have advantaged him as the presumptive Democratic mayoral nominee by virtue of the CFB's determination [that it is not reasonable to anticipate a runoff]," Bishop write.

A source said the campaign was banking on approximately 70,000 paper ballots, once the counts for Manhattan and Staten Island were in, and that if de Blasio gets 36 percent or less of the paper ballot votes, Thompson has a chance at a runoff.

The Board of Elections would not confirm that statement.

"We are vote counters, not prognosticators," a BOE spokesperson said.

But by the end of the day on Thursday, they did confirm that there are 78,491 paper ballots with all the boroughs accounted for. Tomorrow, the BOE will begin to re-canvass the votes cast by lever machine, as well as the 78,481 affidavit, absentee, emergency and military paper ballots.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat

 
 
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