Gov. Andrew Cuomo is the titular head of the state Democratic Party, and his role could be important in deciding whether New York City has a runoff for mayor among the top two Democratic candidates.
But now as former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson faces pressure to drop his challenge of primary ballots and concede to frontrunner Bill de Blasio, Cuomo could influence whether the party coalesces around de Blasio as the November election nears, some political observers said.
“My guess is we will not see the governor take a public role in that. And the question is what he does privately?” said Steven Greenberg, a pollster for Siena College. “I think the governor has shown that he is more likely to try and play politics quietly and behind the scenes than he is publicly out loud.”
Cuomo’s role is a tricky one.
He wouldn’t want to be seen as pushing out Thompson, the leading African-American candidate, but he also would want to appease top donors and leading Democrats who want a unified party as they seek to regain City Hall for the first time in 20 years. And Cuomo will be looking to the city’s support as he seeks re-election next year.
There’s also the Republican candidate, Joe Lhota: a former Cuomo aide and head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority whom Cuomo has lauded.
Thompson yesterday vowed to stay in the race and get all the ballots counted, despite pressure for him to step aside.
De Blasio got 40.3 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. To avoid an Oct. 1 runoff against Thompson — who got 26 percent of the vote — de Blasio would need to solidify that 40 percent after any final ballot counting.