Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mayoral Candidate Bill Thompson May Be Down in the Polls but He's Still Smiling by Adam Lisberg - NY Daily News

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Controller William Thompson is down, but he is not out.

He entered the final weekend of his uphill battle against Mayor Bloomberg hustling, looking for encouragement on the fringes of his polls, and plotting out a whistlestop tour of largely minority neighborhoods.

Bloomberg looks instead like a jet coming in for a landing, launching a gorgeous, minute-long TV ad to leave New Yorkers with a warm feeling about him as they get ready to vote.

Behind the scenes, Bloomberg's campaign army has identified 600,000 New Yorkers - by name and address - who they believe are the backbone of their support.

So Thompson has to take heart from pockets of resistance.

He trumpeted segments of two polls last week: an internal poll that showed him closing the gap among hardcore Democrats, African-Americans and Latinos, and a Marist Poll that showed some undecideds breaking his way.

But both of those polls still showed him losing.

Thompson displayed campaign signs last week featuring El Diario's front-page endorsement.

Bloomberg is the one with endorsements from 61 papers - not just the three major dailies, but also dozens of tiny neighborhood weeklies that thrived on Bloomberg advertising dollars.

"A representative of Mayor Bloomberg called me, and he made it very clear to me that I know how it's done. And I had to join the program, and the earlier I endorsed him, the more money I'd get," said Jerry Lippman, publisher of the Manhattan Jewish Sentinel and the Long Island Jewish World.

His papers endorsed Thompson, all 30,000 weekly copies of them.

Bloomberg spokesman Howard Wolfson denied the allegation: "We have advertised in dozens of papers that have not endorsed the mayor. We try not to advertise in publications that don't have significant readership in the five boroughs, like this one."

While Thompson stumps toward Tuesday, others around him are already thinking about the future.

When he campaigned on the streets of the Bronx on Thursday with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, it wasn't hard to imagine them as a future Democratic dream ticket.

On the stump last week, Thompson was a man talking only about getting into City Hall.

"I want to make it clear that I - Bill Thompson - am not the other choice," he told one rally. "I'm the better choice."

The mayor's supporters snicker. Political consultants prepare Thompson's political obituary. His allies shrug and second-guess.

And yet Thompson himself doesn't seem bothered, for one simple reason:

He has been counted out in this election since the day Bloomberg said he was running again. He has campaigned for a year while short on money and behind in the polls.

With two days before the election, Thompson is exactly where he expected to be. And he's still smiling.