Race to City Hall 2013

In First, Quinn and de Blasio Tied for Top Spot

Longtime frontrunner Christine Quinn and Bill de Blasio, who topped a poll for the first time this week, are tied for first place in a new poll of likely Democratic voters.

The NBC/WSJ/Marist survey released Thursday found de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, and Council Speaker Quinn each garnered the support of about 24 percent, with former comptroller Bill Thompson at 18 percent, just below the poll’s 5.2 percent margin of error. Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner had about 11 percent, appearing to cement his rise and fall in voters’ eyes.

The poll is the second this week to document de Blasio’s rise; a Quinnipiac University poll on Tuesday had him leading Quinn, 30 to 24 percent.

“Weiner has faded, and Quinn and de Blasio are running dead even, with Thompson in striking distance,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “The big change in the numbers has been a gain in de Blasio’s standing from the previous poll, making this a very tight contest.”

The poll found that de Blasio’s lead was mostly tied to his surge among African-Americans, who favor him by 20 percent, compared to 22 percent for Thompson, the field’s only black.

De Blasio leads all others in a likely runoff, in the event no candidate gets 40 percent.

Surveys have gyrated wildly ahead of the Sept. 10 primary. Although the majority of voters appear to have settled on a candidate, Quinn ascribed de Blasio’s rise to the meandering in the polls, suggesting that no candidate has snapped up firm support beyond their core base.

“I always thought this would be a really tight race, that at the end of it, in the final month, which we’re in now, you would see really a tightening,” Quinn said. “So I’m not surprised that we’re seeing — which you can bet the mortgage on — polls go up and down.”

Among Republicans, Joe Lhota was leading rival John Catsimatidis 33 to 22 percent.

In the comptroller race, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer held a double-digit lead against Scott Stringer, 54 to 36 percent.

In the Democratic primary for public advocate, Councilwoman Letitia James led with 16 percent, followed by state Sen. Daniel Squadron and Cathy Guerriero, a professor, at 12 percent each — a statistical tie. Former deputy public advocate Reshma Saujani is at 3 percent in a primary where nearly half of voters remain undecided.

De Blasio’s Rise Noted Across the Nation

As Public Advocate Bill de Blasio cements his front-runner position with a second poll, national media is taking notice, Politicker reported.

The Huffington Post, the leading left-wing news site, pictured the Democratic hopeful under the headline “Progressive Surges in NYC.” The conservative Drudge Report went with “Lefty Surges in NYC Mayor’s Race.”

De Blasio was interviewed Wednesday night by MSNBC, a national media outlet, insisting that his geniality would not conflict with his performing the job known for its brash and colorful predecessors.

“I’ve got the steel I need to take on this fight,” de Blasio told host Chris Hayes.

“I think the fallacy is that somehow you need this kind of negative personality to make it in this city,” he said. “No, in fact, times have changed. People in this city want these inequalities addressed; they feel urgency. They will back up a leader who works for progressive change. And that’s the X factor here. Maybe that wasn’t as true in the past politics of the city. It’s true now.”

To prove his point, de Blasio launched a full-throated attack on Mayor Michael Bloomberg, accusing him of “fear-mongering” over stop-and-frisk.

“You know what’s standing in the way of more reduction in crime?” the public advocate asked. “The fact that police and community have tension between them in so many neighborhoods.”

Catsimatidis Unveils Bridge-Building Plan to Connecticut

Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis wants to build bridges as mayor, the billionaire businessman told the Daily News. To Connecticut, he specified.

Catsimatidis said Wednesday that one of his first acts in office would be borrowing $25 billion for major infrastructure projects.

“We have all those trucks going across the George Washington Bridge, trying to get to the Cross-Bronx Expressway, trying to get to Connecticut eventually,” he said. “[We] could possibly build a separate bridge and a separate roadway straight to Connecticut .”

Catsimatidis, who has been trailing Joe Lhota, a former Big Apple transit chief and deputy mayor, said that his attack ads are ready to fly loose if his rivals go after him.

“If they go negative on me,” he threatened, “nuclear bombs fall.”

Queens Boro President Race Now a Two-Candidate Show

In a surprise move, outspoken state Sen. Tony Avella dropped out of the Queens borough president’s race Thursday, setting up a two-way Democratic primary between former councilwoman Melinda Katz and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.

Avella’s move makes it easier for Vallone, a conservative lawmaker from northern Queens, to compete for white voters. Katz, who is married to the talk-show host Curtis Sliwa, is backed by the borough’s Democratic establishment and most labor unions.