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Intelligencer: December 13–27, 2004

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Mayor Mike Scares Off Thompson
Who wants to parry a billionaire?
Just how afraid are the Democrats of Michael Bloomberg? Throughout much of his tenure, our billionaire mayor often seemed to suffer from a sort of political Asperger’s syndrome—and his lack of charisma showed in his low (though now rising) poll numbers. But political observers say that Comptroller Bill Thompson’s decision to take himself out of the mayor’s race, as New York first reported on its Website last week, shows a caution about challenging the incumbent. Thompson had been under pressure to run from Dems who argued that the former Board of Ed president, an outer-borough African-American, was their best weapon. But advisers say Thompson balked in part because he didn’t want to risk getting battered by reputation-destroying Bloomberg attack ads. “You’d have that primary,” one notes, “then turn around and face a $100 million incumbent.” There’s always 2009.
—Greg Sargent

EDITED BY CARL SWANSON


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