Final Sprint for NYC Mayoral Hopefuls
NEW YORK - The candidates for New York City mayor blanketed television programs with commercials, gave interviews to nearly anyone holding a microphone and relied on old-fashioned retail politicking as they embarked on the frantic stretch run of the primary campaign.
With Tuesday's primary looming, Bill de Blasio started his Friday morning at a Manhattan subway stop shaking hands with rush-hour commuters. As supporters held signs aloft, bleary-eyed straphangers eagerly snapped photos of the Democratic front-runner, who is the city's public advocate.
The night before, de Blasio was at another subway stop, this one in Harlem. At precisely the same moment, rival Bill Thompson was campaigning just one block away, underscoring their competition for the city's African-American vote.
Last month, Thompson combatted critics' charges that he was running a low-energy bid by campaigning for 24 hours straight. That stunt received plenty of media attention, so Thompson will do it again: His team announced that'll he be campaigning for 24 consecutive hours Monday into Tuesday's primary day.
Every last hand he can shake could count, as polls have Thompson and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn locked into a near tie for second place. If no candidate receives 40 percent of the vote Tuesday, the primary's top two finishers advance to an automatic runoff three weeks later.
De Blasio has flirted with the 40 percent mark in some polls but most campaigns - including the public advocate's own - expect there will be a runoff.
Quinn, who is bidding to be the city's first female and first openly gay mayor, tried to shore up support from her base. She was scheduled to hit eight events in her home borough of Manhattan on Friday, capped off by a rally at the landmark Stonewall Inn, the site of 1969 gay rights riots.
Former congressman Anthony Weiner, who is polling a distant fourth, was set to end a two-day Rosh Hashanah campaign break by hosting the first of several telephone town halls with voters.
And Comptroller John Liu and his wife were planning to fan out and make more than a dozen appearances across the city.
GOP front runner Joe Lhota, an ex-deputy mayor under Rudolph Giuliani, said his former boss would join him on the campaign trail this weekend. Giuliani had been out of the country for two weeks on business, depriving Lhota of support from his top surrogate.
And John Catsimatidis, a billionaire businessman, continued to saturate the airwaves with ads harping on Lhota dubbing Port Authority police officers "mall cops." Catsimatidis underscored that point by appearing at the Port Authority police annual softball game on Staten Island on Friday morning.