Sunday, April 20, 2014

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

NY1 ItCH: A Big Search For A Kitchen Sink In The Mayor's Race

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With six weeks to go before the general election, Bill de Blasio took the weekend off, getting some much-needed rest after a grueling primary campaign. It's something you rarely see in the homestretch of a race but it's a luxury de Blasio can afford with a 40-plus point lead in the polls over Joe Lhota. At this point, de Blasio's strategists probably believe that it's more important to avoid making a gaffe and rest their candidate than to run him ragged.

De Blasio is back on the hustings today. Both he and Lhota are meeting with the Jewish Community Relations Council and then de Blasio is getting the backing of the Queens Democratic organization (um, was there any doubt who the Queens Democrats were endorsing in this race?)

As autumn is now upon us, Lhota is trying to find a way to pop the de Blasio balloon. On Friday, he seized upon the fact that shootings went up over the summer, saying that opponents of stop-and-frisk like de Blasio are jeopardizing the city's safety.

But it's unclear if crime will be Lhota's silver bullet; a Marist poll last week found that 44% of New Yorkers think de Blasio would do a better job at crimefighting compared to Lhota's 35%. (And the Times today forcefully argued against any crime-mongering in a tough editorial, "Don't Fear the Squeegee Man.")

While Lhota can forcefully argue his way onto the stage on many fronts – including the economy – he's hitting his head on a tough reality in New York City politics: there are 2.97 million registered Democrats in the five boroughs and only 470,000 Republicans. It's possible to overcome those numbers (ask John Lindsay, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg). But it takes a special sort of circumstances to elect a Republican mayor in New York City and Lhota has six weeks to solve that puzzle.

Bob Hardt

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