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De Blasio Attends NAN's Weekly Rally

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Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota are preparing to go to battle, while William Thompson waits on the sidelines for a final vote tally in the Democratic primary. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

Democratic candidate for mayor Bill de Blasio joined the Rev. Al Sharpton for the National Action Network's weekly rally Saturday.

While Sharpton did not officially endorse de Blasio, he seemed to send a clear signal by standing with him.

Democratic mayoral candidate William Thompson, who came in second in the primary and has a long-standing relationship with Sharpton, was not invited to the event, despite the fact that there is some uncertainty over whether they will be a runoff in the Democratic mayoral primary.

Sharpton said he spoke with Thompson Saturday morning and said he is always welcome at the National Action Network.

Sharpton also spoke about the evolution of identity politics in New York City.

"What the election showed the other is that a lot of the identity politics of 20 years ago, 30 years ago has now become the identity politics of policy," Sharpton said. "Bill Thompson did very well in some white areas. Bill de Blasio did well in some black areas. You can no longer take yesterday's map for today's politics."

Sharpton did not make an endorsement during the Democratic primary, which was seen as a blow to Thompson. Sharpton was said to be angry about Thompson's opposition to two City Council bills to reform the police department.

De Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota are focusing on the general election.

"I've offered a clear, progressive vision, a clear break from the Bloomberg years," de Blasio said Saturday. "Mr. Lhota offers, I think, more of the same. He's clearly in favor of continuing a lot of Mayor Bloomberg's approaches. For example, his clear statement, Mr. Lhota's clear statement that he thinks taxing the wealthy is wrong. That's a fundamental difference we have."

"He's absolutely right," said Republican mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota. "It is a core fundamental difference between us. We agree."

Thompson finished the Democratic primary in second place with 26 percent of the vote. As it stands now, de Blasio has more than 40 percent, enough to avoid a runoff, but there are about 70,000 paper ballots that need to be counted.

"I am going to run against Bill. Depends on which one," Lhota said.

Lhota, meanwhile, is trying to raise his profile after winning a Republican primary contest that was significantly overshadowed by the Democratic fight. He came out to campaign in Little Italy Saturday at the feast of San Gennaro.

"No matter where I go, people are receiving me well," he said.

He also seems thrilled that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not endorsing him in the race.

"I actually am very happy that he's staying out of the race," Lhota said on MSNBC. "I now have the liberty to run as free and clearly as possible."

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