As Democratic mayoral candidates continue to court political leaders in the outer boroughs, former Comptroller Bill Thompson today secured an endorsement from one of the Bronx's most powerful Latino leaders.
Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. stood in front of City Hall alongside Thompson, touting the former comptroller's commitment to the Bronx and his track record with the community.
Díaz said Thompson has shown that when worked on "broader issues" that "there's been equity."
"There's a certain commitment," he said. "There's a heart that he has that says, 'I want to do for all New Yorkers.'"
Diaz said that he had been in talks with other Democratic candidates who vied for his endorsement, namely Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Quinn and de Blasio have already secured their own endorsements from Bronx leaders: Quinn from State Sen. Gustavo Rivera in early April and de Blasio from State Assemblyman Luis R. Sepúlveda.
Reporters at the press event asked Díaz about his thoughts on other candidates in the race, particularly the two Latino mayoral hopefuls: conservative Democrat Rev. Erick Salgado and Independence Party candidate Adolfo Carrión.
Diaz's father — State Sen. Rubén Díaz Sr. — has endorsed and organized fundraisers for Salgado. The junior Diaz dismissed Salgado's campaign as an unserious one.
"We all have fathers," Diaz said with a smile. "My father's been wrong before; my father's wrong now."
Díaz also said he wished Carrión luck, but raised questions about the former Bronx Borough president's attempt to jump party lines in his bid to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"I'm a Democrat," Díaz said. "He abandoned the party. When we needed him, he left us. So I'm going to be there for Billy, who's always been there for us."
During the presser, Thompson tried to strike a diplomatic tone about the nature of endorsements.
"It doesn't have to be that others are bad to have someone support you," Thompson said. "It means they think you're the better candidates. It means, in this case, the borough president is expressing faith in my ability to lead the city."
Around the block from Thompson's event and across from the Manhattan Municipal Building, another mayoral hopeful made his own endorsement announcement.
Republican candidate John Catsimatidis said he was proud to accept the nomination of the city's Liberal Party.
"John Catsimatidis understands history and respects the power of a successful Republican-Liberal Party fusion in New York City electoral politics," said party chairman Jack Olchin in a statement today, drawing comparisons to 1940s Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.
Hours after the Catsimatidis campaign's event, fellow Republican candidate Joe Lhota made news of his own when he got the endorsement of Rep. Peter King and the Staten Island Republican Committee.
The former MTA chief said he was honored to receive King's endorsement, praising the congressman for his support for the city and counter-terrorism advocacy on a national level. King likewise celebrated Lhota, mostly for his experience in the private and public sectors.
"The city is facing serious challenges both to its public safety and economy and Joe is the only person in the race who will focus on creating jobs and keeping us safe," King wrote.