The gloves are completely off in the race for city comptroller, as former Governor Eliot Spitzer and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer have launched a barrage of negative advertisements, marking an intense new phase in the campaign. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Eliot Spitzer's latest television ad takes aim at Scott Stringer over an issue that has proved very divisive in the mayor's race: overturning the will of the voters and allowing Mayor Michael Bloomberg a third term.
"Term limits were voted in by the people until 20-year career politician Scott Stringer worked to destroy them," Spitzer's ad said.
Stringer had no vote on the matter, but he did testify in favor of extending term limits before the City Council, which was also mentioned in a Spitzer radio ad.
"The law was overturned, the people's will overridden, and the keys to City Hall handed back to a mayor who's been no friend to us," the radio ad said.
The new Spitzer ads come one day after a poll showed him slightly behind Stringer for the first time in the race.
"Listen, I think they're panicked, I think they're desperate, they're losing ground, and Scott's going to continue doing what he's been doing for the last two months and before Eliot Spitzer even got in this race," said Stringer spokeswoman Audrey Gelman.
But Stringer is going negative in a new ad too, even though his campaign initially refused to provide it for NY1.
"Spitzer jailed people for prostitution and financial crimes, but when he got caught doing the very same thing, he held himself to a different standard and walked away scot-free," Stringer's ad said.
The Spitzer camp counters that charges of financial crimes are not new from Stringer and have since been debunked.
In a separate development, former doormen, who once worked for Spitzer's real estate developer father Bernard, released a web video claiming the Spitzer family discriminated against them.
"People of color just cannot trust Eliot Spitzer," the video said.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Spitzer campaign says, "There is absolutely no evidence supporting the allegations of discrimination made in the complaint. This has nothing to do with Eliot, and any attempt to smear him or his dad is both desperate and despicable."
Both Spitzer and Stringer were off the campaign trail Thursday in observance of Rosh Hashanah, and it is unclear if that will continue through Friday.
Speaking in Buffalo on Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo made clear for the first time that he will not be making an endorsement in this race.