Bill Thompson has asked all of his supporters to unite behind Bill de Blasio even though the Democratic Primary process is not done because all the votes have not been counted. Thompson believes that it is in the best interests of this city that everyone pulls together in support of de Blasio to ensure that Joe Lhota is not the next mayor.
After the last 12 years under Michael Bloomberg, the priority of this union must be to ensure that his disastrous education policies do not continue. The candidate running on the Republican ticket promises only more of the same.
Honoring the wishes of Bill Thompson, I am calling an Executive Board meeting to be followed by a special Delegate Assembly on Wednesday afternoon to recommend that the UFT endorse Bill de Blasio.
The NY Post reported that Mulgrew was allegedly urging Thompson out of the race as early as last week but other Thompson supporters were telling Thompson to hang in:
Sources said it was teachers union chief Mike Mulgrew — not Cuomo — who helped persuade Thompson to abandon what could have been a bruising runoff against de Blasio.
“Clearly union leadership loomed large in the Thompson campaign and when they pulled the stopper on the drain, down went the campaign,” said one source.
“I think the message was said very clearly from union leaders across the city that it’s over and you can continue on, but you’ll be standing by yourself.”
The teachers union was Thompson’s most prominent backer and pumped $2.7 million into his campaign.
I saw somewhere else (can't remember where now, but it was anonymously sourced anyway) that Hazel Dukes and Charlie Rangel had been two prominent backers of Thompson who wanted him to stay in.
But Michael Barbaro wrote on Twitter that he had heard the opposite of the story we're getting now about Mulgrew's actions post-primary:
@Azi hmmm. I'm told he was urging Thompson to stay in for days. Skepticism useful here.
— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) September 16, 2013
All of this matters, of course, because it speaks to the UFT leadership mindset both pre- and post-primary.
Were they really surprised Thompson lost by 14%+ to de Blasio?
The pre-primary public polls all showed this kind of victory for de Blasio, so I hope they weren't surprised by that.
Were they hoping they could keep de Blasio under 40% and beat him in a runoff.
Well, they almost kept him under 40% (and the Thompson campaign had thought if BT could hit 25%+, they could keep BdB under 40%), but even if they had forced a runoff, did they think the chances of beating de Blasio were good?
I hope not, because public polls showed de Blasio beating Thompson by 12%+ - not quite the whopping 22% de Blasio was beating Quinn by, but still a major hill to climb for Thompson.
Yes, it's true that a runoff would have been a whole new race, with all the challengers other than Thompson and de Blasio out, but the momentum de Blasio had going for him going into the primary wasn't going to dissipate going into a runoff and the headwinds Thompson faced (Is it just me or does he seem perpetually sleepy?) weren't going to dissipate either.
Stop-and-frisk was going to continue to be a problem for him (The Times reports that some Thompson advisers couldn't figure out what the hell Thompson was doing with his policy stance - surprise, surprise, neither could the public!).
Thompson had to win major black community support to beat de Blasio and he had lost many black voters with his incoherent stance on stop-and-frisk (Was he for it? Was he against it? Was he both for it and against it?)
Couple the problems Thompson had pre-primary with the momentum de Blasio had going into the primary and it's difficult to see how the Thompson campaign was going to be able to change the trajectory of the race in a short runoff campaign - not even with the UFT's vaunted PAC money.
Now I'm no political operative and I've got no insight into anything these people were thinking outside of what I read in the papers and on the Internet and Twitter.
That said, if I could ferret out this stuff about Thompson, I hope to God the UFT political shop could too.
I hope they were the one's trying to push Thompson out late last week, not the one's trying to keep him in.
Because if the UFT were the one's doing the latter, then God help us all - they're even dumber and more clueless than we think they are.