Al Sharpton is sitting in the catbird seat.
The activist turned politician turned MSNBC host is being courted by all the Democratic candidates for mayor in their tight primary race. While Bill Thompson is the only African-American candidate in the race and is expected to get heavy support in the black community, an endorsement by Sharpton of one of the other candidates could be extremely helpful.
Facing this political reality, Anthony Weiner spoke to Sharpton's National Action Network on Saturday and got a so-so review from the reverend, who told the New York Observer's Jill Colvin: "I'm not hearing enough ideas."
Sharpton, who ran for mayor himself in 1997, tells The Daily News' Jonathan Lemire that he hears regularly from the candidates – but downplays the idea that he could be a game changer in the election:
“I am more concerned about what sort of kingdom New York is going to be than being a kingmaker."
But in a primary where a few thousand votes could mean the difference between getting into a runoff and going home, Sharpton could matter – especially if he actively campaigns with the candidate. (How MSNBC could allow that is another question.) While he will never be forgiven by some for his role in the Tawana Brawley case, Sharpton's support is certainly a net positive in a Democratic primary. He's coming on "The Road to City Hall" tonight and I'm certainly curious what he has to say.