The Man Who Stands to Lose Most

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By Michael A. Harris

"Democracy in New York City died yesterday and I won't be an accessory to that murder," said Thompson on Friday.

William F Thompson -Cable - Michael A Harris
William F. Thompson (click to enlarge)

New York City Hall, NY, (CMN) October 27th, 2008 -- As it became imminent Thursday that the New York City Council was about to legislatively extend term limits, an angry City Council Member Tony Avella (D - Queens) declared "You all ought to be voted out of office for voting for this," but the person who stands to lose the most from the vote is a man who didn't vote for - or against it, because he doesn't have one - New York City Comptroller William F. Thompson (D).

Thompson, one of the most outspoken critics of overturning term limits legislatively, as the Council did just minutes after Avella's outburst, would be allowed to seek a third term as City Comptroller, but stated that acting out of the same principle that drove Avella to so emotionally vote no, he won't.  Instead, Thompson said that he will continue his bid for Mayor, only now even if he wins the Democratic Party's 2009 mayoral primary, he will likely face the city's popular incumbent mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, who has no party affiliation and therefore wouldn't even need to win a primary to get his name on the ballot and has almost unlimited financial resources and a 59 percent approval rating.

 "Democracy in New York City died yesterday and I won't be an accessory to that murder," said Thompson on Friday.  "I will continue my bid to be the next mayor of the City of New York."

Thompson, who is extremely popular and barring a major scandal would likely easily win a third term as comptroller, will instead face Rep. Anthony D. Weiner (D - Brooklyn/Queens) and any other Democrats who may decide to run for mayor in a September 2009 primary.  This is a risky political move for Thompson, who if he were to lose, would find himself out of a job.  "Term limits were twice approved by the voters of New York City due to the power of incumbency and that is exactly why I won't seek a third term as  comptroller," he said explaining his reasoning and when asked about his gamble, he cited the fact that he'd likely win as a reason not to run.

As Members of Congress are elected to two year terms in even numbered years, a 2009 mayoral bid would be a political freebie for Weiner, who even if he were to lose (as he did in 2005) would continue to serve in Congress, unlike Thompson who would have to make a definitive choice, as New York law prohibits running for more than one government office in a given election.

Immediately following the passage of the legislation, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn (D - Manhattan), who had formed an exploratory committee for a 2009 mayoral bid announced that she was ending her mayoral bid and will instead seek another term in the Council.  It is unclear whether Avella will have his way, but a political source inside the district called Quinn "severely politically damaged" and said that if she runs, she will "definitely face tough opposition.

Several New York City Council Members and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, have announced their intention to run for City Comptroller.  It was not immediately clear which of those candidates will take advantage of the term limits extension and seek another term in the current office and who will run for Comptroller.

Bloomberg said Friday that he plans to sign the legislation early this week.

Related Articles:

Bloomberg’s Term Limits

Backroom Deal?

Strong Accusations

Michael A. Harris, is a Freelance News Editor for PWdBC and New York City correspondent for Cable Muse Network.

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