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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"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."
Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.
The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.