Thompson's Campaign an Exercise in Chaos

In one instance, Thompson's campaign even misspelled his own name

Friday, Oct 23, 2009  |  Updated 10:38 AM EDT
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Thompson's Campaign an Exercise in Chaos

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Bill Thompson speaks at a rally outside Mayor Michael Bloomberg's campaign headquarters Oct. 20.

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It can be tough to run a campaign against a billionaire incumbent mayor if you chronically show up late to campaign events or turn out press releases spelling your own name wrong.

That's the case with Democratic Mayoral Candidate Bill Thompson, The New York Times reported today.

The Times said the "chaotic quality of Mr. Thompson’s mayoral run stands in vivid contrast with the efficiency of the Bloomberg campaign, which meticulously plans and obsesses over every detail."

Thompson has been late -- or even missed campaign events.  His aides have turned out press releases with misspelled words. Once, a statement blasting the mayor spelled Mr. Thompson’s name “Thomson.”

This week, the Democratic city comptroller was scheduled to greet evening commuters at an Upper East Side subway station. The appearance was canceled at the last minute, without explanation. Campaign manager Eduardo Castell told The Times that “the nature of a schedule is to get to as many events as possible. You can’t always make all of them.”

The Times takes some relentless swings at the Thompson campaign, calling the gaffes "amateurish" and saying his candidacy lacks sophistication.  

And it gets worse:

The campaign’s official e-mail messages to the news media contain easily corrected spelling errors. The headline in one message denounced Mr. Bloomberg’s “hypocricy.” Another declared that Thompson is “gainning” in the polls.

Thompson has been vastly out-spent by Bloomberg, who has already put $65 million into his third term bid.  By the time the general election began Sept. 16, Thompson had already burned through about 50 percent of the campaign funds he had raised --  a far more modest $8 million. That forced Thompson to run 15-second TV commercials -- no match for the mayor’s saturation of local TV with 30- and 60-second spots, The Times said.

Voters have complained that they still know little about Thompson or his goals for office. 

In the first of two mayoral debates, pundits said Thompson did a good job of rebutting some of Bloomberg's attacks on his record as president of the Board of Education and his handling of the state pension funds. 

But, the debate was one of Thompson's first platforms to really introduce himself to the city he seeks to lead.  A second debate is set for Oct. 27th.

Campaign workers told The New York Times that what looks like haphazard planning is actually deliberate; Mr. Thompson hates to be closely managed, or to be trailed by an entourage, so they give him space.

A Marist poll out yesterday shows Bloomberg has held his ground, while Thompson has lost support among likely voters.  New numbers have Bloomberg with a 16 point lead -- up from a 9 point lead last month.

Indeed, Thompson has painted himself as a candidate close to real, working New Yorkers -- in contrast to Bloomberg, whose actual wealth is unknown.

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