(CNN) — Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson ended his bid for New York City mayor Monday and endorse Bill de Blasio.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference on the steps of City Hall, Thompson made his announcement surrounded by city and state-wide New York Democratic leaders. Thompson had been holding out since last Tuesday's Democratic primary hoping for the possibility of a runoff in the primary.
"Every single vote should and must be counted- every vote...but Bill de Blasio and I want to move our city forward in the same direction. We share the fundamental same views and values. This is bigger than either one of us," Thompson said.
In the primary race, Thompson came in a distant second to de Blasio, who began his campaign as a liberal long-shot, overwhelming his opponents to finish first. By apparently breaking a 40% vote threshold, de Blasio appears to have avoided an automatic primary runoff.
De Blasio, the city's public advocate, will now square off as the favorite in the general election over Republican Joe Lhota, the former top deputy to Rudy Giuliani.
Just Friday, Thompsons's resolve seemed steady, hoping a re-canvass of voting machines would result in a runoff between he and de Blasio, saying he wanted to wait for the official count, but Monday Thompson called for party unity.
"In the greatest city in the world, in the greatest democracy on Earth, we ought to be able to count all the votes, but the reality is right now the votes have not been counted, and it's by no means clear when they will be counted... Under those circumstances it is impossible to even campaign let alone offer a meaningful choice to Democratic voters. It would be disservice to my supporters, a disservice to Democrats, and most of all, a disservice to the people of New York City."
Thompson was the Democratic nominee for New York City mayor in 2009, a deputy borough president in Brooklyn, Board of Education President, and City Comptroller.
"For years I've had the honor of working with Bill (Thompson) In this city, in this party. There is no man with greater integrity, a man who has given his life to public service to the betterment of all of us... throughout this campaign, even when we disagreed our friendship, our mutual respect continued," said de Blasio, who appeared early after the primary to have reached the 40% of the vote needed to avoid a three-week runoff race for the Democratic nomination.
De Blasio, began his campaign as a long-shot but rode a late wave of momentum by tapping into liberal anxiety over the three-term administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, painting Bloomberg's New York as an increasingly unaffordable metropolis that rewarded wealthy Manhattanites at the expense of the outer borough middle class.
A Brooklyn resident who showcased his interracial family in television ads, de Blasio ran up sweeping margins in nearly every borough and demographic category, besting his opponents among voters of all ages, races and income levels. According to exit polling conducted by Edison Research for various New York City media outlets, de Blasio, who is white, even outperformed Thompson, the lone black candidate in the race, among black voters.
"As Democrats, as part of the core of who we are, we don't believe in allowing a 'A Tale of Two Cites.' As Democrats it is our urgent imperative to create equality, to make sure everyone has a piece of the American dream, that everyone has a piece of the dream that is New York, so I am profoundly honored, I am profoundly humbled to receive the support of Bill Thompson," de Blasio said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was among Democratic leaders at Monday's press conference. Cuomo praised Democratic Party unity, thanked Thompson and congratulated de Blasio on his nomination.
CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report