Thompson Knew It Was Going to Be a Squeaker

Thompson's natural allies were conspicuously absent

Sunday, Nov 8, 2009  |  Updated 10:07 AM EDT
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg (C) departs a City Hall news conference with City Comptroller William Thompson last year.

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Former mayoral candidate Bill Thompson wasn't surprised by election night results that saw billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg squeak past him with just a five point advantage, a new report finds.

The people who should have known better - White House operatives, leading Democrats, most of the pundits - believed the Bloomberg spin that he was headed for another landslide victory, The Daily News reported today.

But apparently Bloomberg's record campaign spending -- out of his own deep pockets -- was an indication his campaign knew he wasn't in for such a strong victory.

Even Thompson knew better, The News said. His campaign paid for a secret poll early in the year that revealed New Yorkers were tired of Bloomberg, fed up with his tax hikes, alienated by his high-handedness and willing to vote for change, the newspaper said.

If only his natural allies had believed him.

The News said this includes Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was absent when Thompson gave his concession speech. She was at a bar in Queens, after campaigning for Council members in the borough whose support is crucial for her to remain speaker next year. Nobody believes she wanted Thompson to win, and it showed.

Jay Jacobs, the new chairman of the state Democratic Party was in Nassau County, studying election returns, never realizing the Democrats could have scored a coup just across the city line, the newspaper said.

Meantime, Mayor Bloomberg's aides – conditioned to expect windfall bonuses for helping achieve bigger margins of victory on Bloomberg's last two reelection campaigns— worry their billionaire boss will only dole out lumps of coal for his meager third term win this go around.

“It’s crossed our minds,” one Bloomberg campaign aide told The New York Times. “How could it not?”

“If they [campaign aides] knew it was going to be by the skin of their teeth, they deserve it for pulling off a victory,” Ken Sherrill, a professor of political science at Hunter College, tells the paper. “If all the public polls were right, they should get stiffed.”.

Bloomberg does hail from Wall Street, after all. Even if his camp were clueless about his vulnerabilities, that doesn’t mean the staffers won't still be handsomely compensated. 

It wouldn’t be the first time a lavish cash bonus had nothing to do with performance.
 

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