The leading candidates for mayor are trying to create distance from some complicated political figures in their lives. Nicole Malliotakis is trying to steer clear of President Trump, while Mayor Bill de Blasio is downplaying his endorsement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. NY1 Political Reporter Grace Rauh filed the following report.
An endorsement from the state's top Democrat might seem like a good development for the Democratic nominee for mayor.
But Bill de Blasio is going out of his way to downplay Cuomo's official support; they have a fraught relationship.
"I think, in the end, the political relationship is a lot less important than what he is doing for New York City, or not in the interest of New York City," de Blasio said on NBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday.
Cuomo almost casually endorsed the mayor a day earlier on "The Brian Lehrer Show" on Monday:
"I am a Democrat, I support Democrats, and I'll support Mayor de Blasio in the general," Cuomo said in the phone interview. "I think in this contest — you know, life is options, they say, right? I think in this contest, he is the better person to serve the city of New York as mayor, period."
The Republican nominee for mayor, meanwhile, is playing her own game of political Twister.
"You have a choice, and I wasn't excited about either choice, and so I just voted for the person I thought would shake-up Washington," Malliotakis told me.
That would be President Trump.
"Assembly member Malliotakis is a pro-Trump Republican," de Blasio said to supporters last Wednesday. "The people of this city reject Donald Trump, it's as simple as that."
Therein lies the problem for Malliotakis: She voted for Trump, and he is deeply unpopular in much of the city.
"It's dogging me down in this campaign even though I was never really a supporter of his," Malliotakis said.
The distance she is trying to create, however, has already triggered a backlash among Trump supporters, judging from the comments section in the Staten Island Advance.
"Have a backbone Nicole. You just committed political suicide," one comment said in response to a Staten Island Advance story about Malliotakis saying she regretted voting for Trump.
Rauh: What is Trump doing well right now?
Malliotakis: I don't know. I couldn't tell you.
Malliotakis campaigned at a senior center Tuesday in Bay Ridge, a neighborhood that she represents in the state assembly.
"Even when she wasn't running for mayor, she comes and she visits and she talks to us," said one woman. "We need somebody who is going to take care of us."
Malliotakis is making her pitch to voters, one senior center at a time.