Mayors Campaign Together as Firefighters Back Thompson

NY 1 - September 17, 2009

City Comptroller and mayoral challenger William Thompson picked up a key endorsement hours after winning the Democratic nod for mayor Tuesday.

Hours after defeating Queens Councilman Tony Avella by 70 percent in the Democratic primary, Thompson earned the endorsement of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. Addressing the union, Thompson said they should be equally disappointed in Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta.

"Voters really do have a choice in November," said Thompson. "They have a choice between someone who's going to stand up and fight for them, someone who isn't going to dump the burdens of this city on the backs of the working and middle class New Yorkers, and a mayor who's done that for eight years. Who's ignored and tried to squeeze them out of the City of New York. That's what the choice is this November."

"We need somebody who understands the day-to-day workings that New York City firefighters endure, and the current commissioner doesn't," said UFA President Stephen Cassidy. "He's been there for eight years, despite constant failures. It seems no matter what he does, he can never get himself fired." The firefighters' union has a history of backing Democrats. It endorsed Congressman Anthony Weiner in 2005, but Weiner lost in the primary to Fernando Ferrer. The union then didn't endorse Bloomberg or Ferrer in that year's general election.

The UFA endorsed Mark Green in 2001, who lost to Bloomberg.

NY1 reached out to Scoppetta for comment.

Thompson thanked supporters Tuesday night and immediately challenged Bloomberg to a series of debates, one in each borough. He also accused the mayor of squeezing out middle-class New Yorkers and pushing to overturn term limits.

"Mike, you told us over and over again that overturning term limits would be a disgrace. But the fact is that it was in your best interest," said Thompson. "You hijacked democracy and overruled the will of the voters."

Meanwhile, Bloomberg, with former Mayor Ed Koch at his side, greeted commuters Wednesday morning at 71st Avenue and Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, Queens.

Bloomberg said he's improved life in the city over the last eight years.

"I think people either are or will be - after we explained what we've done - happy with we've accomplished, and want to use that and build on it and they don't want to go back to what it was before," said the mayor.

"The fact is and I tell the truth, Mike Bloomberg has an extraordinary record and it cannot be compared to Bill Thompson," said Koch, the last city mayor to serve three terms.

Two debates are scheduled between the mayoral candidates. The first is on Tuesday, October 13 and will be moderated by NY1's political anchor Dominic Carter. The second will be held two weeks later.

The two other citywide races are not yet settled and there will be runoffs on September 29.

Queens Councilman John Liu will go against Brooklyn Councilman David Yassky for city comptroller.

Mark Green will face Brooklyn Councilman Bill de Blasio in the race for public advocate.

Turnout was lower for this primary than four years ago.

The most votes were cast in the comptroller's race, followed by the public advocate's race and the mayoral primary.

The Manhattan district attorney's race, won by Cyrus Vance Jr., generated the lowest voter numbers but only Manhattan residents could vote in the race.