Democratic leaders “moved swiftly on Wednesday to prevent a combative sequel to the party’s primary for mayor, as union officials and party leaders rallied around” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (D) and former Comptroller Bill Thompson (D) “to end his quest for a runoff election. On a day of back-room maneuvering and deal-making, Mr. Thompson’s own inner circle appeared divided over how, or even whether, to proceed, with his campaign. Mr. Thompson vowed to press on,” but Thompson campaign chairwoman Merryl Tisch said de Blasio had won a “clear victory” and suggested the race was over. Tisch: “I don’t think there’s much appetite within the Democratic Party to have a fight here.” Al Sharpton, a longtime Thompson ally, “encouraged him to give up his campaign, and an influential labor group, the Hotel Trades Council, endorsed Mr. de Blasio.”
But Thompson “found some measure of hope in the uncertain election outcome. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. de Blasio had won 40.3 percent of the vote, just over the 40 percent required by law to avoid a runoff, but there were more than 16,000 paper ballots, some still arriving by mail, that could push Mr. de Blasio below that threshold when they are counted next week.” Thompson: “I want to make sure that every voice is heard, that every vote is counted.” (New York Times)
“Sticking by Mr. Thompson on Wednesday was the United Federation of Teachers, the powerful municipal union that threw their support to him.” (Wall Street Journal)
LONG WAIT: “The counting process will begin on Friday, when the Board of Elections will double-check the count of votes cast on lever machines at polling places. Then, on Monday, the board will begin tallying paper ballots, although it is not clear exactly how many ballots there will be to count.” (New York Times)
“Already some 19,000 valid absentee ballots have been received, and they will continue rolling in until next Tuesday. This means it likely won’t be until Wednesday at the earliest that all votes are counted, and we know whether Bill de Blasio indeed clears the 40 percent threshold.” (NY1)
JOE’S NEW FRIENDS: Many business executives fear that de Blasio’s proposals “could jeopardize New York’s economic progress of the past two decades.” This concern could benefit former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota (R), who “has accused his potential opponent of advancing an agenda that has ‘historically brought our city to the brink of bankruptcy and rampant civic decay.’” (Wall Street Journal)
Lhota’s campaign is “preparing to launch a national fundraising” effort. One source: “There will be a national excitement because Joe is a different type of Republican.” Sources said that “New Yorkers for Proven Leadership,” a pro-Lhota PAC, “will begin airing television ads to promote Lhota as soon as de Blasio officially clinches the Democratic nomination.” (New York Post)
Lhota also “plans to reach out to the Rev. Al Sharpton and create a Democrats for Lhota organization. … Aides said that Lhota intends to reach out to Sharpton — a gesture that his former boss, Rudy Giuliani, refused to do during his eight years as mayor.” Sharpton spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger said her boss would be open to meeting with Lhota. (New York Daily News)
— Kevin Brennan
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Just a day after Donald Trump called her a bigot, Hillary Clinton delivered a scathing speech tying Trump to the KKK and so-called “alt-right.” This new frontier of debate between the two candidates has emerged at a time when Trump has been seeking to appeal to minority voters, among whom he has struggled to garner support. Calling him “profoundly dangerous,” Clinton didn’t hold back on her criticisms of Trump. “He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party,” Clinton said.
Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 51%-41% in a new Quinnipiac poll released today. Her lead shrinks to seven points when the third-party candidates are included. In that scenario, she leads 45%-38%, with Gary Johnson pulling 10% and Jill Stein at 4%.
Is the Clinton family backtracking on some of its promises to insulate the White House from the Clinton Foundation? Opposition researchers will certainly try to portray it that way. A foundation spokesman said yesterday that Chelsea Clinton will stay on its board, and that the "foundation’s largest project, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, might continue to accept foreign government and corporate funding."
"Four Iranian ships made reckless maneuvers close to a U.S. warship this week, the Pentagon said Thursday, in an incident that officials said could have led to dangerous escalation." The four Iranian vessels engaged in a "high-speed intercept" of a U.S. destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz. A Navy spokesman said the Iranina actions "created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation including additional defensive measures" by the destroyer.