It may be hyperbolic to say that the New York mayor is “America’s mayor,” a turn of phrase appearing during the Rudolph Giuliani era, but no one can deny the high-profile national characteristics of the position.
Yet, the current batch of candidates, especially on the Democratic side, are politically indistinguishable from each other on the issues New York’s liberal Democrats care about – gun control, minority rights, housing, stop-and-frisk, gay rights, all of which are encapsulated in the person of New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
Mr. de Blasio is currently saturating New York airwaves with a political ad narrated by his mixed-race teenage son, complete with 70s style big hair. To complete the one-size-fits-all social issues candidate, New York insiders know that de Blasio’s interracial marriage survived the gay liaisons (reported on the Politicker site) of wife Chirlane McCray.
Is there a candidate who can top that? Is there a candidate who can match de Blasio in the egalitarian touchstones of race, gender, and social advocacy?
The openly gay-married Christine Quinn is running a close second because she has a record for voters to look at, a plethora of political enemies engaged in a “Stop Quinn” movement in social media, because of past support for Bloomberg, and because her opponents are having some success in associating the “C” word (corruption) with her administration of a discretionary spending fund that goes with a city council presidency.
It is more or less by default that de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, current leads the race. As reported by NY1.com, the latest Quinnipiac poll has de Blasio ahead with 30 percent of likely voters, Council President Christine Quinn trailing with 24 percent, former controller Bill Thompson with 22 percent, and Anthony Weiner sinking to 10 percent.
In spite of her second place slot in the Quinnipiac rankings, the race seems still for Christine Quinn to lose. The mayoralty position requires executive experience and Quinn’s businesslike approach to the city’s challenges may give her some advantage from voters in the middle.
Too, there is a whiff of political conservatism that derives from mild resistance to spending designed to woo voters. That New York City has never had a woman mayor could also help Quinn as the contest heads toward the finish line in a volatile race that had disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner going from front-runner to the virtual bottom of the heap.