At a forum for mayoral candidates in Jamaica, Queens, last week, some of the loudest cheers from the overwhelmingly black audience came not just for the only black candidate on stage, former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, but for the first Asian-American elected to citywide office, current Comptroller John Liu.
The crowd applauded loudly, too, when Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is white but married to a black woman, voiced empathy for a young black man who said he had been stopped and frisked by police 20 times.
That is a challenge facing Mr. Thompson as he tries to win the Democratic mayoral primary, four years after coming within five percentage points of being elected mayor. In a Democratic primary, his campaign is banking on at least 70% of the votes cast by African Americans, who are expected to make up a quarter of the primary electorate. If he can do that and win a large percentage of Latinos and Orthodox Jews, as his campaign hopes, he would be a formidable contender in the race to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“Those are communities I’ve worked with throughout my life,” Mr. Thompson said of African Americans. “And I think there’s an understanding based on work, based on who I am, that I understand black communities in the city of New York.” (Wall Street Journal)
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