Sunday, April 20, 2014

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

NY1 ItCH: The Final Countdown In A Low-Key Campaign

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"Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go -- I wanna be sedated." – The Ramones

It's a bad sign for democracy in New York City when the final weekend of the mayoral race is dominated by an argument over the candidates' sleep schedules and comments made by Harry Belafonte about the Koch brothers.

With the exceptions of the three debates between Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota, the eight weeks of the general election race have largely been issue-free. It's an unfortunate development given the many hurdles that the next mayor has to jump -- starting with negotiating expired contracts for 300,000 municipal workers.

Looking at polls that have consistently shown him up by about 40 percentage points, de Blasio has run an extremely cautious campaign – the exact opposite of what led him to capture the Democratic nomination in September. If he does go on to become the next mayor, let's hope that the last two months aren't indicators of how he will run things in City Hall. Trying to make everyone happy is a great way to campaign but a lousy plan for governing.

Turning to Republican Joe Lhota, his campaign never truly got off the ground. From his relatively close victory over John Catsimatidis in their primary to a timid foray against de Blasio in their first debate, Lhota didn't have a cohesive message on the campaign trail until late in the game. Making things even tougher for him, wearing the GOP label this November is a near-fatal branding in a city-wide election this year.

The future of the city's education system, the direction of the NYPD, and the economic policies guiding the five boroughs deserve plenty of attention by whoever wins on Tuesday and hopefully will get more than lip service or sound bites before the winner takes office in January. Let's hit the ground running and put this dispiriting campaign behind us.

Bob Hardt

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