Race to City Hall 2013 – October 22, 2013

De Blasio Basks in Poll, Hillary Clinton Help

Democrat Bill de Blasio on Monday maintained a commanding lead over Joe Lhota in the mayoral race, with a new poll released just 15 days before voters go to the polls putting the city’s public advocate ahead of his Republican rival 68 percent to 24 percent.

The Quinnipiac University poll shows Lhota up slightly from the 50 point spread in the last Quinnipiac poll two weeks ago. But time appears to be running out for Lhota, since only 5 percent of the likely voters are undecided and only 8 percent said there’s a “good chance” they could change their mind before the Nov. 5 election.

De Blasio leads among all demographics, with a whopping 94 to 5 percent lead among blacks and a more grounded 54 to 42 percent lead with white voters. Democrats support him 86 to 9 percent and independents 55 to 33 percent. Lhota takes Republicans 84 to 13 percent.

“The good news for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is that he probably can start drafting his inauguration speech,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “The bad news is that New York City voters’ priority for the next mayor is — you guessed it — jobs, something over which a mayor has very little control. The next priority is education and if he can succeed where so many have not, they can name a school after him.”

One positive for Lhota is voter support for two issues he strongly backs: New Yorkers want the next mayor to keep the stop-question-and-frisk police tactic and increase the number of charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately run. De Blasio wants them to pay rent on a sliding scale and not use public school buildings.

Among likely voters, 39 percent want more charters, 18 percent want fewer and 35 percent say to keep the number the same.

“As he drafts that inauguration speech,” Carroll said, “Bill de Blasio will have to ponder the judgment by a sizable minority of voters that he won’t be able to reform stop-and-frisk without crime going up. Plus the fact that charter schools — about which he’s not enthusiastic — are popular.”

De Blasio has not had a lead smaller than 40 points in any poll taken since the primary last month. Independent candidate Adolfo Carrion was at 2 percent.

The triumphant poll came on a busy day for de Blaiso, who is looking to become the first Democrat elected mayor since 1989.

Monday night he will be the guest of honor at a glittering Manhattan fundraiser hosted by Hillary Clinton as she takes another step back onto the public stage after leaving her post as Secretary of State earlier this year.

“There’s literally no one more respected in this country than Secretary Clinton, and her vote of confidence is crucially important,” de Blasio told reporters Monday at a Manhattan news conference.

De Blasio’s ties to the Clinton political dynasty run deep. He ran Clinton’s successful 2000 Senate campaign and worked for her husband, in then President Bill Clinton’s administration in the 1990s. The event, which is being held at the Roosevelt Hotel, is expected to draw hundreds of people and raise $1 million.

The Democrat joked that he saw a lot of similarities between Clinton and his wife, political activist Chirlane McCray.

“For that year of my life, you know, I would go to work and I worked for a strong-willed, forceful, progressive Wellesley woman,” he said. “And I went home to a strong-willed, forceful, progressive Wellesley woman.”

But Lhota said there was nothing special about one Democrat boosting another.

“Why does that surprise you?” he asked. “He’s worked for her, he was her campaign manager. I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised at all. No one should be. I fully expected it.

De Blasio also joined state attorney general Eric Schneiderman to urge the major smartphone manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung and Motorola, to bolster security on their devices.

They asked the companies to install a “kill switch” on their phones, which allow the device’s owner to permanently disable it if it’s stolen. That way, the phone would become useless, taking away its value to a would-be thief.

Approximately 20 percent of all thefts in New York City are of smartphones.

Lhota Ad Recycles de Blasio’s Dem Primary Foes’ Quotes

Republican Joe Lhota is ratcheting up his attacks on frontrunner Bill de Blasio with a sharp new ad using footage of de Blasio’s one-time Democratic rivals attacking him as untrustworthy and hypocritical.

The ad splices together clips of Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson and John Liu — All three of whom have since endorsed de Blasio — going after the candidate on his acceptance of campaign cash from a landlord on his slumlord list, his prior support for overturning term limits when running for City Council speaker, and questioning his integrity on a host of other issues.

“Stop lying to the people of New York City,” Thompson, the former controller, says in the ad.

“This election is about credibility,” he says in a different clip. “Why should the people of New York believe you, Bill, given your history and given the fact that that history has been one of doing things that are in your political self interest?”

Quinn is seen accusing de Blasio of “misrepresenting the facts” and “talking out of both sides of his mouth.”

“New Yorkers deserve a mayor they can trust. They might not agree with every decision a mayor makes, but they shouldn’t have to worry they’re being lied to. As the ad showcases, that’s simply not the case with Mr. de Blasio,” said campaign spokeswoman Jessica Proud.

Lhota Criticizes de Blasio for Role in Crown Heights Response

Joe Lhota accused Bill de Blasio of mishandling the police response to the 1991 Crown Heights riots, saying that his withholding of crucial information about security in Jewish areas as the top aide to a deputy of then-Mayor David Dinkins demonstrated that he is not prepared to govern the city.

“Dealing with that riot that happened in Crown Heights was an unmitigated failure because information wasn’t given to the people at the top,” Lhota said at a campaign stop in Brooklyn Monday. “Bill de Blasio was given information by people in the community. They’ve all testified to the fact. It stayed there. It stayed there with Bill de Blasio.”

De Blasio, then 30-years-old, was a “politics and outreach” staffer working for Deputy Mayor Bill Lynch, who was blamed in a state report for not deploying police fast enough. De Blasio told the Daily News Sunday that he only had a minor role in City Hall, taking constituent calls.

However, Lhota, whose former boss, Rudy Giuliani, defeated Dinkins’s re-election bid, partially because of the riot’s fallout, said that it showed de Blasio’s failures as a leader.

“It’s so emblematic of Bill de Blasio’s complete and total experience to be the mayor,” Lhota said. “He doesn’t understand what you need to do … as a mayor. He worked as a mayoral staffer, he didn’t provide information up to his boss. That’s just purely understanding the chain of command.”

At an event Monday, de Blasio testily took on the Daily News reporter who wrote the story, emphasizing he was just a low level staffer.

“I wasn’t ‘at’ it…. Your article did [not] get that right and I wanted to say, since you said ‘at,’ I want to confirm I was not there on the site,” de Blasio told reporter Greg Smith.

When Smith said he meant to say that de Blasio had been part of the administration, de Blasio interrupted.

“Greg, with all due respect, I appreciate your article. Again, I’m going to to be a little bit clear with people who make inaccurate statements. I’m going to address them,” he said. “I was in City Hall working on the staff. I did receive calls from concerned community leaders around the city and that’s all…. I was not on the site. I came away with very strong views but I did not participate directly. I just need to be crystal clear about that.”


“Race to City Hall 2013” is a daily Hamodia column focusing on the New York City mayoral race, ahead of the general election on Nov. 5. It is culled from reports from The Associated Press, Politicker, the New York Post, New York Times, Daily News, City & State, Capital New York and others.