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Thompson within striking distance for NYC mayor

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson smiles at a candidate forum in New York. Thompson is now firmly in the race’s top three, well-positioned to finish in the top two at the Sept. 10 primary and advance to a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson smiles at a candidate forum in New York. Thompson is now firmly in the race’s top three, well-positioned to finish in the top two at the Sept. 10 primary and advance to a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson smiles at a candidate forum in New York. Thompson is now firmly in the race’s top three, well-positioned to finish in the top two at the Sept. 10 primary and advance to a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson smiles at a candidate forum in New York. Thompson is now firmly in the race’s top three, well-positioned to finish in the top two at the Sept. 10 primary and advance to a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

  • File-This June 26, 2013 file photo shows Gov. Paul LePage speaking to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget at the State House in Augusta, Maine.  LePage's off-color remarks have offended opponents, galvanized supporters and fueled attacks from the Democratic congressman and independent candidate hoping to unseat him in 2014. But the three-way race shaping up may once again play into LePage's favor.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

    File-This June 26, 2013 file photo shows Gov. Paul LePage speaking to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget at the State House in Augusta, Maine. LePage's off-color remarks have offended opponents, galvanized supporters and fueled attacks from the Democratic congressman and independent candidate hoping to unseat him in 2014. But the three-way race shaping up may once again play into LePage's favor. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

  • File-This June 26, 2013 file photo shows Gov. Paul LePage speaking to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget at the State House in Augusta, Maine.  LePage's off-color remarks have offended opponents, galvanized supporters and fueled attacks from the Democratic congressman and independent candidate hoping to unseat him in 2014. But the three-way race shaping up may once again play into LePage's favor.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

    File-This June 26, 2013 file photo shows Gov. Paul LePage speaking to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget at the State House in Augusta, Maine. LePage's off-color remarks have offended opponents, galvanized supporters and fueled attacks from the Democratic congressman and independent candidate hoping to unseat him in 2014. But the three-way race shaping up may once again play into LePage's favor. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

  • File-This June 26, 2013 file photo shows Gov. Paul LePage speaking to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget at the State House in Augusta, Maine.  LePage's off-color remarks have offended opponents, galvanized supporters and fueled attacks from the Democratic congressman and independent candidate hoping to unseat him in 2014. But the three-way race shaping up may once again play into LePage's favor.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

    File-This June 26, 2013 file photo shows Gov. Paul LePage speaking to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget at the State House in Augusta, Maine. LePage's off-color remarks have offended opponents, galvanized supporters and fueled attacks from the Democratic congressman and independent candidate hoping to unseat him in 2014. But the three-way race shaping up may once again play into LePage's favor. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson, right, speaks while Anthony Weiner looks on at a candidate forum in New York. Thompson is now firmly in the race’s top three, well-positioned to finish in the top two at the Sept. 10 primary and advance to a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson, right, speaks while Anthony Weiner looks on at a candidate forum in New York. Thompson is now firmly in the race’s top three, well-positioned to finish in the top two at the Sept. 10 primary and advance to a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson, right, speaks while Anthony Weiner looks on at a candidate forum in New York. Thompson is now firmly in the race’s top three, well-positioned to finish in the top two at the Sept. 10 primary and advance to a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson, right, speaks while Anthony Weiner looks on at a candidate forum in New York. Thompson is now firmly in the race’s top three, well-positioned to finish in the top two at the Sept. 10 primary and advance to a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson smiles at a candidate forum in New York. Thompson is now firmly in the race’s top three, well-positioned to finish in the top two at the Sept. 10 primary and advance to a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson smiles at a candidate forum in New York. Thompson is now firmly in the race’s top three, well-positioned to finish in the top two at the Sept. 10 primary and advance to a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
  • File-This June 26, 2013 file photo shows Gov. Paul LePage speaking to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget at the State House in Augusta, Maine.  LePage's off-color remarks have offended opponents, galvanized supporters and fueled attacks from the Democratic congressman and independent candidate hoping to unseat him in 2014. But the three-way race shaping up may once again play into LePage's favor.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
  • File-This June 26, 2013 file photo shows Gov. Paul LePage speaking to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget at the State House in Augusta, Maine.  LePage's off-color remarks have offended opponents, galvanized supporters and fueled attacks from the Democratic congressman and independent candidate hoping to unseat him in 2014. But the three-way race shaping up may once again play into LePage's favor.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
  • File-This June 26, 2013 file photo shows Gov. Paul LePage speaking to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget at the State House in Augusta, Maine.  LePage's off-color remarks have offended opponents, galvanized supporters and fueled attacks from the Democratic congressman and independent candidate hoping to unseat him in 2014. But the three-way race shaping up may once again play into LePage's favor.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson, right, speaks while Anthony Weiner looks on at a candidate forum in New York. Thompson is now firmly in the race’s top three, well-positioned to finish in the top two at the Sept. 10 primary and advance to a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson, right, speaks while Anthony Weiner looks on at a candidate forum in New York. Thompson is now firmly in the race’s top three, well-positioned to finish in the top two at the Sept. 10 primary and advance to a run-off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

In the topsy-turvy New York City mayoral race that has been filled with larger-than-life characters, Bill Thompson has run a steady, under-the-radar campaign that has put him within striking distance of victory.

His Democratic rivals have seized the tabloid headlines: Christine Quinn, who is bidding to become the city’s first openly gay mayor, opened up about her alcoholism and bulimia.

Bill de Blasio has made his family, which includes his afro-sporting 15-year-old son and formerly lesbian wife, the centerpiece of his campaign.

And Anthony Weiner’s political resurrection captivated the city only to have it collapse under a new wave of sexting revelations.

And while the front-runners have changed repeatedly, the even-tempered, some would say charisma-challenged Thompson has remained consistently in third, just a few points behind the leaders.

“I think there were a lot of distractions over the summer, things that distracted us from the future of New York City,” Thompson told the Associated Press. “But I think it’s settled in now and people are focusing on the issues.

“I am very comfortable with where I am,” he said. “You don’t want to peak in February, you want to peak on Sept. 10, and I think I am heading that way.”

With little establishment support, Thompson came within five points of toppling Mayor Michael Bloomberg four years ago.

But that showing did little to help him early in his 2013 campaign, which was marked by sluggish fundraising
and sometimes confused messaging.

And for much of the campaign, he has maintained the lowest name recognition among the major Democratic candidates.

A former comptroller and head of the city’s board of education, Thompson has spent much of the summer touting endorsements meant to appeal to a wide spectrum of interests. His backers include both pro-Bloomberg business leaders and the decidedly anti-Bloomberg teachers union.

Thompson, 59, also trotted out endorsements from minority leaders such as U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz to shore up support among blacks and Latinos.

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