Saturday, April 19, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: Pulling In The Endorsements As Primary Day Looms

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With a little more than two weeks to go before Primary Day, Christine Quinn and Joe Lhota have delicately threaded the ideological needle, getting both The New York Times and the New York Post to endorse them in their primary races for mayor.

While it's unlikely that Lhota will be trumpeting The Times endorsement to die-hard Republicans or Quinn will be talking up her backing by the Post in the West Village, the dual endorsements show that the city's power elite is most comfortable with a Quinn/Lhota general election. For Quinn, the endorsements – along with the backing of the Daily News – are a shot in the arm for her campaign which has recently eclipsed by the rapid rise of Bill de Blasio.

Although Lhota is thought to be the favorite in the GOP primary, his wealthy rival John Catsimatidis has started launching a wave of negative ads, blaming Lhota for toll hikes when he was the head of the MTA and ripping his negative comments about Port Authority police officers. Their debate this week – which also includes dark horse George McDonald – could get feisty because of Catsimatidis' new broadsides.

The Democrats, meanwhile, are trying to outwork each other. After The New York Times revealed last week that John Liu has held more campaign events than Quinn and Bill Thompson combined (!), Quinn is going on a five-borough tour today while Thompson is undergoing another punishing 24-hour campaign swing later this week.

While there's no substitute for shoe leather, TV ads and mailings that tout endorsements do a pretty good job for politicians. The key thing to watch for this week is any new line of attack from the candidates; going on the offensive next week is almost too late if you want something to truly resonate with voters. Buckle up – it could be a bumpy ride going into Labor Day.

Bob Hardt

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