Could the Anthony Weiner scandal boost Bill Thompson?
The revelation of previously undisclosed, lurid text messages sent by New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner could dramatically shift the race and help vault the race’s only black candidate, former City Comptroller Bill Thompson.
It’s not yet immediately clear if these newest disclosures will hurt the former congressman, as no poll has been released since the revelations. But Weiner has been close to the top of nearly every poll in the race, along with Thompson and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
With no candidate in the six-person field likely to get the needed 40 percent to win the Sept. 10 primary outright, these three are effectively battling to finish in the top two and qualify for a runoff.
And Weiner has been a major threat to stop Thompson from qualifying for a run-off, in part because polls show the ex-congressman getting about 30 percent of the black vote, about the same amount as Thompson.
Thompson, who lost in 2009 to Michael Bloomberg but finished much stronger than had been expected, has struggled to gain attention in a way race in which Weiner and his comeback story have dominated the news. Thompson is not only far from the most charismatic of the candidates, but has annoyed some of his allies in the black community by not strongly condemning the controversial “stop and frisk” policies of the New York Police Department.
Rev. Al Sharpton, a longtime Thompson ally, has pointedly refused to endorse the city councilman and criticized his police stances.
“I don’t think it’s wise to be distant from a social movement if you are going to run for mayor of this city, especially as a black candidate,” Mr. Sharpton told the New York Times earlier this year. “I have expressed this to Thompson.”
Follow Perry Bacon Jr. on Twitter at @perrybaconjr