Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Mayor's Race - Where It Stands In Early October

The last two polls taken in the mayor's race and released a few days after the primary election showed Bill de Blasio beating his GOP opponent Joe Lhota by 43 and 41 percentage points respectively.

Expect the next slate of mayoral polls that come out to show a bit of a closer race.

First, de Blasio has been taking a beating in the press ever since the NY Times Sandanista hit piece.

De Blasio has had defend himself, his work for a Jesuit relief organization in the 80's, his honeymoon to Cuba in the 1990's and why he didn't disclose his father's suicide to the NY Post like every candidate should.

These have been ridiculous charges for the most part, but they have taken de Blasio off message and put him on the defensive.

It's never good to be on the defensive in a political campaign.

Second, Joe Lhota has gotten kid glove treatment from the press.

Lhota has a track record for being a real ass - from pushing a reporter back in the 1990's to inviting a 77 year old man to fist fight just last year when he was running the MTA - but somehow Lhota's temperament issues haven't gotten any scrutiny.

So Lhota has been able to keep the scrutiny focus mostly on de Blasio so far and that's always a good thing if you're a candidate with a documented track record for physical confrontations and threats.

Third, de Blasio's emails have gotten more strident in their attacks on Lhota - a circumstance that suggests a) the campaign's internal polling is showing a tightening of the race b) Lhota's and the press's attacks on de Blasio are hitting their mark and causing damage and/or c) de Blasio is looking to fund raise off the outrage by ratcheting up the tone of the campaign.

Whatever the case, de Blasio is turning his attention to Lhota and trying to put some media focus on him.

Now I don't think Lhota is anywhere close to winning this race and, barring something unforeseen, he isn't going to win this race.

But de Blasio isn't going to win the race by 40 points either and we have a long way to go before that first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

So it makes sense for de Blasio to start putting Lhota on the defense and using the press and Lhota attacks to rev up his own supporters and donors.

But I have one suggestion around this:

If I were the de Blasio campaign, I would be running at Lhota's temperament, not his youthful admiration for Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley.

First of all, most people don't care about Goldwater or Buckley anymore - these guys are dead and, while the movement they started isn't dead, it isn't all that relevant to this race.

Not in a way that de Blasio wants to spend any time explaining, at any rate.

Second, Lhota has a documented temperament problem - why not use this character flaw to argue he should not be mayor?

Because it's true - he really shouldn't be mayor.

The campaign doesn't have to do it themselves, btw.

I would have political allies and the like hitting at Lhota and his temperament, pushing for the press to look even deeper into this guy's past for more physical confrontations than we already know about, getting these stories out to the public that Lhota likes to fight first, ask questions later.

I dunno - maybe New Yorkers want to vote for a guy who challenges a 77 year old man to a fight at an MTA board meeting because he's not voting the way he wants him to.

But we'll never know if that's what New Yorkers want if New Yorkers don't know that's the kind of guy Joe Lhota is.

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