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Consultants In City Elections Spill Secrets

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A month after voters went to the polls, it was time for the winners and the losers to spill state secrets about Election 2013, as NY1 political anchor Errol Louis hosted a roundtable at The New School's Center for New York City Affairs on Wednesday for major consultants in city races. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

They were the behind-the-scenes brains of this last election cycle. On Wednesday, it was time to chew over the memories.

One of those memories was Anthony Weiner's confession to sending more sexual messages to women after his resignation.

"Some of these things happened before, some of them happened after," he said at the time.

"None of us on the campaign knew," said Barbara Morgan, spokeswoman for the Weiner campaign. "We did what we needed to do moving forward in trying to manage a very difficult situation."

There were other things to reveal about how the race ended up. Everyone thought that the ad starring Dante de Blasio was the turning point.

The real game-changer may have been what happened to John Liu. Citing fundraising violations, the city's Campaign Finance Board didn't award him millions of dollars in matching funds.

"What the CFB did was absolutely unconscionable," said Cheng Seto, an adviser to the Liu campaign.

However, it helped de Blasio's team, who saw Liu as a real challenge for voters, maybe more than Christine Quinn or William Thompson.

On the Republican side, a bitter primary bloodied Lhota so much that a Lhota aide mused that he should've have "gutted John Catsimatidis earlier."

Meanwhile, de Blasio emerged a celebrity on the other political side.

"We literally looked at each other, and there was almost no path to victory," said Jake Menges, an adviser to the Lhota campaign.

A controversial ad saying to New Yorkers, "Don't let Bill de Blasio take New York backwards," was a Hail Mary that still rankles.

Rebecca Katz, adviser, de Blasio campaign: The more fear-mongering was out there, I think the better we were, actually.
Menges: I don't think it was fear-mongering. I disagree with that.
Katz: I would not back down from saying it was fear-mongering.

When it was all over, the voters went to the polls - very few of them, by historical standards. It was the lowest turnout for a mayor's race in anyone's memory.

Down-ballot races were dissected, too, such as the Democratic primary for comptroller, which pitted Eliot Spitzer versus Scott Stringer. Stringer, of course, won, and then dusted off John Burnett in the general election.

There was no Republican for Letitia James to beat in the public advocate's contest.

Opponents then, pundits now, until the consultants duke it out again in another race.

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