New York, NY - William Thompson Seen Courting Haredi Community In Mayoral Election Bid (video)
New York, NY - As the 2013 Mayoral race heats up, William C. Thompson, Jr. is counting on Orthodox Jewish support to get him through the Democratic primary and into Gracie Mansion, according to a report in The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/YqU9n0).
Thompson, Jr., who, in a recent interview with VIN News, vowed to have an open dialogue with the Orthodox community if elected mayor, has long-standing ties to the ultra-Orthodox world.
His father, William C. Thompson, Sr., served central Brooklyn neighborhoods as a state senator, a councilman, and later as a judge. Both are well-liked and respected in Orthodox circles. Thompson, Jr. is well-known in haredi communities for his involvement in helping to defuse the racial conflicts which emerged in the aftermath of the Crown Heights riots. He has also fought to provide yeshivas with access to computer and supplies, and helped ease regulations concerning bus service to religious schools.
Video below by Stephen Farrell/The New York Times.
Like his Democratic rivals, Thompson, Jr. is banking on the good will he has built up over the years with the Orthodox community and is hoping it’s enough to earn him the confidence of some 30,000 Orthodox Jewish voters in this year’s primary. Without a major Jewish candidate in the race, Thompson, Jr. is seen by many in the Orthodox community as the next best option for the Jewish community.
“Jewish leaders want you to show up, and they want to know: ‘Does this guy get me? Does he understand who I am and what my needs are?’ And a guy like Thompson – that familiarity, that credibility – is there, without question,” said Jonathan Greenspun, a former adviser to the 2009 Bloomberg campaign.
At a breakfast meeting with Jewish leaders held at the home of community activist and businessman Chaskel Bennett, Thompson continued to court Orthodox Jewish voters. But what makes him different than other politicians, said Bennett, is that he is a “mensch” who never asks for a political donation, whereas other elected officials are “schnorrers” who request and accept campaign contributions, but do not respond to the Orthodox Jewish needs once elected.
“There are a lot of people in the Orthodox Jewish community who feel that maybe our relationship with Gracie Mansion, with City Hall, would be a lot better had Bill won the  election,” Bennett said. “Good friends are hard to find, and Bill Thompson is a friend.”
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