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Monday, March 25, 2013

Thompson's Greater Challenge To Keep His Base Assembled

John Liu and Bill de Blasio are not only a threat to Christine Quinn, holding her off from a decisive victory in the first round and avoiding a 1-one-1 run-off, but also a challenge facing Mr. Thompson as he tries to win the Democratic mayoral primary and the mayoral race in the general.

Thompson's campaign admits they are banking on at least 70% of the African American voters and a substantial chunk of the Latino vote, who together are expected to make up almost 50% of the primary electorate. If he can do that, and win a large percentage of Orthodox Jews, as he expressed at a recent visit in Borough Park, he would be a formidable contender in the race to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"Those are communities I've worked with throughout my life," Mr. Thompson said of African Americans, according to Andrew Grossman in the WSJ.  "And I think there's an understanding based on work, based on whom I am that I understand black communities in the city of New York."

But John Liu, who officially launched his campaign recently  at two church services in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the heart of black political power in Brooklyn is going large for the Black vote. Bill Lynch, a Harlem-based political consultant working for Mr. Liu, told Andrew Grossman, some African-Americans and Latinos would side with Mr. Liu if they determine that authorities are "on a witch hunt."

"Ethnic voting still goes on here," Mr. Lynch said. "But John's appeal is he shows up, he's always there, and he takes on the issues that the black community likes, like stop and frisk." In Bedford-Stuyvesant, resident Sheila Fye said race would likely play a role in who the neighborhood votes for. She said Mr. Thompson was well-known there but urged him to get moving. "He should let people know that he's running, to start with," said Ms. Fye, a retired day-care director. "He hasn't come out here much lately." Mr. Liu, Grossman notes  has been visible in black neighborhoods and has taken the hardest line on stop and frisk, saying it should be banned.

Mr. De Blasio's campaign believes that he, too, can win a significant portion of the black vote, in part by highlighting his black wife and mixed-race children.

While Thompson's recent hire of Jonathan Prince might give him the needed boost to kick off the spring campaign, it remains to be seen whether he will manage to capitalize and hang on to the Black and Orthodox vote to emerge as number 1 or 2 for the run-off.

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