NY Post Endorses Lhota for Mayor, but de Blasio Looks Like Winner

Image: NY Post Endorses Lhota for Mayor, but de Blasio Looks Like Winner

Monday, 04 Nov 2013 09:03 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The New York Post has endorsed Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota, saying his Democratic challenger Bill de Blasio will turn back all the progress the city has made since the 1970s.

Despite the endorsement, de Blasio still holds a commanding lead over Lhota by a margin of 65 percent to 24 percent among New York City voters and appears headed for a huge win over the Republican in the Tuesday election, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The newest Wall Street Journal-NBC 4 New York-Marist poll shows the distance between the two candidates virtually unchanged since de Blasio easily won the Democratic primary weeks ago. The latest survey found that only six percent of voters polled said they remain undecided and 8 percent said they may vote differently come Tuesday's election. But even those votes broke his way, Lhota would still lose by a significant margin.

Tuesday's winner will succeed billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg, who has run the city since January 2002. The new mayor will take office on Jan. 1.

The Post said in its Monday endorsement of Lhota that he "seeks to build upon the key reforms of the past two decades," while de Blasio "campaigns on a platform that calls into question almost every stride forward the city has taken since the 1970s."

For example, the Post said, de Blasio has attacked police practices that have proven successful, especially the city's controversial stop-and-frisk law.

The paper noted that 20 years ago, the city had more than 2,000 murders a year, but now, the figure is down to 417.

"Lhota wants to keep these practices while de Blasio is for handcuffing the people that gave us the safest big city in America," the newspaper said.

The Post also blasted de Blasio for wanting to put a hold on changes in the city's school system enacted by Bloomberg, particularly those focused on charter schools. De Blasio, "backed by his pals in the teachers union, would kill charters," the newspaper charged. "Lhota proposes to double the number."

The Post also pointed to de Blasio complaints about income inequality while advocating higher taxes as a reasons for voters to reject him.

"After eight years of Rudy Giuliani and 12 years of Bloomberg, New York is safer, cleaner and more vibrant than it was in the bad old days when it was following the kind of policies Bill de Blasio now advocates for our future," the newspaper said.

But registered voters, according to the latest poll, want de Blasio to take the city in a different direction. Only 31 percent favor continuing Bloomberg's policies, compared to 64 percent who want the new mayor to change them," the Journal reported, citing its own survey.

Bloomberg is leaving his third term in office with mixed approval ratings and Lhota admitted Sunday that the voters' weariness with Bloomberg is hurting his chances.

"I'm not Mike Bloomberg," said Lhota, who has served in the past as deputy mayor to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

"There's a level of fatigue for all elected officials after two terms — third terms put people into a tailspin," he said.

Even though no Democrat has won in the past five mayoral elections, the Journal survey revealed that Lhota has not been able to make much headway in his appeal to key demographic groups and independent voters.

De Blasio is far ahead among blacks, by 90 percent to 2 percent margin; among Latinos by 72 percent to 10 percent; women 53 percent to 39 percent; and by wide margins among all religious faiths.

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