Likening himself to Rocky Balboa, Republican candidate for mayor Joseph Lhota used the last debate before Election Day to make the case that he is the underdog everyone should be cheering on, but given his rival's lead in the polls, changing the direction of this race may require a knockout punch. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Republican Joseph Lhota is hoping his campaign for mayor has a Hollywood ending.
"It reminds me of that boxing match between Rocky and Drago," Lhota said. "I mean, quite honestly, we know what happened in that match. The underdog won. New York loves an underdog, and quite honestly, I am that underdog."
Democrat Bill de Blasio's wide lead in the polls, however, is making a win for Lhota seem increasingly unlikely. He nevertheless used the final debate in the race for mayor to hammer the front-runner.
"We are one bad mayor away from unsafe streets, continued failing schools and fiscal chaos," he said.
Lhota also said that de Blasio lacks the experience to be a successful mayor, and he is raising concerns about de Blasio's ability to negotiate new contracts with the city's labor unions.
"Mr. de Blasio has never negotiated a contract before," Lhota said. "In fact, what concerns me is that he's so aligned with the unions. How is he going to make sure that he's protecting the city of New York?"
De Blasio hit back against Republican rival.
"Mr. Lhota has clearly made his campaign about tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. He wants to continue failed policies like the current approach to stop-and-frisk," de Blasio said. "He really doesn't want to disrupt the status quo in this city that's not working for a huge number of our citizens."
De Blasio defended his plan to raise taxes on wealthy New Yorkers to pay for universal pre-kindergarten. There are serious questions, though, about its chances, since the tax hike would require approval from Albany.
"We intend to pass this," he said. "Anyone who's a leader doesn't start talking about plan Bs, plan Cs. You talk about your vision and how you're going to get it done."
"Mr. de Blasio says leaders don't have a plan B. You know why he says something like that? He has no management experience whatsoever," Lhota said. "He's never managed anything but political campaigns and a public advocate's office."
Right now, both candidates are focused on Plan A: pulling off a win on Election Day.