GOP candidate 43 points behind de Blasio
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
He’s 43 points behind his rival in the latest poll, but Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota isn’t worried, according to his campaign spokeswoman.
Jessica Proud said Lhota is shrugging off the results of the NBC-Wall Street Journal-Marist poll, which has him trailing Democrat Bill de Blasio by a wide margin. The poll, released on Sept. 17, had de Blasio with 65 percent of the vote to Lhota’s 22 percent.
"We always knew we'd be the underdog in this race and once New Yorkers learn more about Bill's radical policies, they will be looking for a practical alternative,” Proud said in a statement. “Joe's experienced leadership and solutions to expand the middle class will resonate with everyday New Yorkers in all five boroughs," she boldly predicted.
A key Lhota supporter in Brooklyn said he wasn’t surprised by the poll results. “It’s an early poll. I’m not trying to make excuses, but the Democratic Primary took up most of the attention and right now, de Blasio is better known,” the Lhota supporter, who is a political party official, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
“The voters will get to know Joe. He’s going to be making a strong case that he is the best person to move the city forward. Taking a poll at this point is like giving an eighth grader a test on Sept. 20 on a book they’re not going to read until Oct. 1,” he said.
Still, momentum appeared to be on de Blasio’s side. On Tuesday, the same day the poll came out, he was endorsed by his former bitter rival, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, at a rally on the steps of City Hall.
Meanwhile, Lhota picked up support from former governor George Pataki and State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on Tuesday. The Lhota campaign was quick to point out that Pataki and Skelos are the types of political leaders who garnered cross-over support from Democrats as well as their fellow Republicans.
“Throughout his career in public service Joe Lhota has been the kind of leader who not only brings people together, but he keeps them together to get the job done,” Pataki said. “As mayor, Joe will reach out to all New Yorkers with a shared vision of opportunity and optimism that will unite the city to overcome the challenges we face. I am proud to endorse him today,” the former governor said.
“Joe Lhota understands the struggles facing everyday New York families,” Skelos said. “He grew up in the Bronx, the son of a cop and was the first in his family to go to college. He has a plan that will strengthen the middle class and those aspiring to make it there so that all New Yorkers can have the same opportunities he did,” the majority leader said.
Lhota said he was pleased to have the support of Pataki and Skelos.
“Governor Pataki and Majority Leader Skelos are true examples of sensible and responsible governing that resonates with all New Yorkers. These men are great New York leaders and I’m proud to have them behind me in my campaign to move this city forward,” Lhota said.
Also on Tuesday, Lhota met with the Rev. Al Sharpton at Sharpton’s National Action network headquarters in Harlem. To many political observers, it was a signal that Lhota, who served as deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, is eager to reach out to those who disagree with him.
Both Lhota and de Blasio live in Brooklyn. Lhota resides in Brooklyn Heights. De Blasio lives in Park Slope.