The political wrangling went down to the wire in New York City on Tuesday as voters cast their ballots in the Democratic and Republican primaries — which include hotly contested races to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
On the Democratic side, former City Councilman Bill de Blasio appears to have a comfortable lead. The question is whether he can garner 40 percent of the primary vote to avoid an Oct. 1 run-off. A Quinnipiac University poll on Monday showed him with 39 percent of the vote.
Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner is now polling at 6 percent and will not be a factor. The real challengers to de Blasio are Christine Quinn, the city's openly gay speaker, and former city comptroller Bill Thompson.
Both candidates have attacked de Blasio for fund-raising from landlords of slum buildings, for changing his position on term limits, and for focusing his campaign on a proposal to fund universal pre-kindergarten with increased taxes on high-income earners.
De Blasio, now New York City Public Advocate, has campaigned hard against stop-and-frisk, and hinged his campaign on inequality, describing New York as a "tale of two cities," the rich and the poor. Bloomberg has accused de Blasio of running a campaign that is "class-warfare and racist."
De Blasio, Quinn, and Thompson all stumped around the city on Monday.
A run-off would be beneficial to the Republican candidate since it would allow the GOP to run a more moderate campaign in heavily Democratic New York city.
On the Republican side, sparring by the mayoral candidates has also continued down to the wire.
The leading candidates, billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis and former Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota, both visited the Mount Loretto Friendship Club on Monday. Catsimatidis called a game of bingo, while Lhota offered cookies and chatted about the card games people were playing, The New York Times reported.
At another campaign stop on Monday, Catsimatidis, who has reportedly spent $3.9 million on his campaign, accused Lhota of hating kittens, a reference to Lhota's assertion that he would not have shut down a subway line when some cats wandered onto the tracks, as occurred recently.
Lhota has been boosted by the endorsement of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Catsimatidis has been promoting his endorsement from former governor George Pataki and another from a YouTube video that features his wife Margo, "Making a Difference," that has gone viral on the Internet.
See the video below:
Other interesting developments in the NYC campaigns:
- In the race for comptroller, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer has plunged in the polls after holding an early lead, although he is popular among black and Hispanic voters. His strongest opponent in the Democratic primary is Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, while GOP candidate John Burnett runs unopposed.
- Ironically, Spitzer is also opposed by Kristin Davis, who had helped Spitzer get call girls while he was governor. She spent three months in prison for running an escort service.
- Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has chided the entire mayoral field, claiming that no candidate had sought a counterterrorism briefing from him or members of the Police Department. De Blasio claimed he had asked City Hall for a briefing last month.
- Forecasts for Tuesday are for hot and sunny weather. But observers expected fewer than 800,000 of the city 3.4 million registered Democrats and Republicans to go to the polls.
- Quinn has been endorsed by The Times and the Daily News, but her support waned to just 18 percent immediately before the election.
- Bloomberg made an appearance on Monday at a high school in Manhattan, welcoming students back to school and referring to himself as "somebody who's about to be unemployed." Some of his attempts at humor "fell flat," according to The Times — about half of the students were recent immigrants who did not speak English.
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