Friday, April 18, 2014

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

NY1 ItCH: A Final Debate Night For Lhota And De Blasio

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There was the decaf Joe Lhota and then there was the Lhota with an extra shot of espresso. It will be interesting to see what coffee Lhota is sipping tonight in his final debate with Bill de Blasio.

In what has proven to be a lackluster general election campaign, the two debates have easily been the highlights of the mayoral contest. With de Blasio largely avoiding controversial issues or making grand policy statements and Lhota unwilling or unable to offer an alternative vision of his New York, voters have largely been locked in amber. Poll numbers consistently show de Blasio holding at least a 40 point lead with few voters saying they're undecided or willing to change their vote.

Lhota took some big swings at de Blasio last week and some of them landed. De Blasio may be better served by abandoning the look of disdain he sometimes wore as Lhota spoke last week and embrace the "fighting Bill" persona that helped him triumph in the crowded Democratic race last month.

And the debate also gives de Blasio a final chance to reassure New Yorkers who are still concerned about what his mayoralty would look like. Because he hasn't been giving any major speeches in this election season, this will likely be his closing argument before voters head to the polls on Tuesday.

Last week's debate gave New Yorkers something that's been sadly lacking this October -- a real argument and dialogue between the two candidates about the issues facing the city. Let's hope that conversation continues tonight.

And regardless of the style of the coffee served, don't forget that NY1 will have a full analysis of the debate tonight at 8 p.m.


Bob Hardt

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