In recent weeks, William C. Thompson Jr. has been increasingly unfurling mayoral endorsements from African-American and Hispanic leaders, hoping to solidify his base.
But now Mr. Thompson, a Democratic candidate and former city comptroller, is adding someone who is synonymous with fiscal gravitas: Richard Ravitch.
Mr. Ravitch, a former lieutenant governor, is best known as a Mr. Fix-It, beginning in the 1970s, for helping to rescue fiscally wobbly institutions, like the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He also embodies the kind of old guard Democrat who is comfortable with Wall Street and the corridors of power, and he will lead Mr. Thompson’s budget and finance advisory group.
For Mr. Thompson, Mr. Ravitch’s nod, twinned with the recent endorsement of Merryl H. Tisch, chancellor of the state’s Board of Regents, underscores his broad and diverse base of support. It also signals that, in a liberal Democratic field, Mr. Thompson can appeal to more centrist establishment figures.
Even former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican, told a television reporter recently that if Joseph J. Lhota, a former deputy mayor of his, were not running, he would most likely back Mr. Thompson, whom he called an “honorable man.”
Mr. Thompson said that the city’s budget challenges meant that this was “an all-hands-on-deck moment.” But he said that “there is no better partner in that effort than Richard Ravitch” to help the city “overcome these fiscal challenges.”
In an interview, Mr. Ravitch said he had “nothing against” the other candidates, especially Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, and Bill de Blasio, the public advocate. But he said he decided to back Mr. Thompson, a longtime friend, because “I think he will be the best fiscal steward by dint of his experience and his personality.”
“He certainly understands that he isn’t going to preside over an expansive period in New York City’s history,” Mr. Ravitch continued.
He added, “It’s important to have broad acquaintances and roots in the political structure, because ultimately whatever choice you make on the tough decisions, you’re going to have a lot of unhappy people, and there has to be a residuum of good will and relationships.”
Mr. Ravitch has made donations to candidates (including $2,000 to Mr. Thompson, and $1,000 to Ms. Quinn, for the 2013 election), but he rarely makes endorsements. In fact, he said he could not remember the last time he publicly backed a citywide candidate (other than himself, he joked, when he ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1989).
He also said he had voted for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, though he declined to say whether he voted for Mr. Bloomberg or Mr. Thompson in their contest in 2009.