Bill de Blasio Touts Speaker Candidate Mark-Viverito

RK1_3050.JPGMayor-elect Bill de Blasio took his preference for Council Speaker public for the first time Monday — appearing at a “rah rah” luncheon with at least 60 backers of his close ally of East Harlem’s Melissa Mark-Viverito, sources said.

The mayor-elect arrived at City Hall restaurant in Lower Manhattan after naming Carmen Farina the new schools chancellor. He spoke about “making history” by selecting the first Latina speaker, according to a source.

The shindig featured dozens of council members, union representatives and religious leaders who support Mark-Viverito, a liberal pol who represents East Harlem and a part of the The Bronx.

Another source said de Blasio talked about the pending Jan. 8, 2014 vote as being “our moment.” He cautioned the council members not to cave in to pressure to change their allegiance to a rival candidate, Manhattan Councilman Dan Garodnick.

Spokesman Phil Walzak would not say whether de Blasio’s appearance at the event constituted an endorsement.

“Mayor-elect de Blasio stopped by today’s gathering to discuss a new progressive direction for New York City,” he said.

Earlier this month, Mark-Viverito unofficially declared victory in the race after securing the backing of 30 of the 51 council members.


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