The race for mayor is heating up among Republicans, too. The top-tier candidates vying to succeed Mike Bloomberg as the third consecutive Republican mayor of New York City, Joe Lhota and John Catsimatidis are fighting over the heart of Republican voters, ahead of the critical September 10th primary.
On Thursday, John Catsimatidis released a hard-hitting new ad titled “3 Things,” underlining the differences between Joe Lhota and himself. ”While Catsimatidis created thousands of jobs, Joe Lhota created one–for himself. A bureaucrat versus a businessman, John Catsimatidis for mayor,” the narrator concludes.
Mr. Catsimatidis also sent out the ad, via You Tube, in an email blast to Republican and Conservative voters. A second, new commercial, “Cares About Us,” also criticizes Mr. Lhota.
In rating the effectiveness of the ad, the NYT’s Thomas Kaplan writes: ”Mr. Catsimatidis’s decision to attack Mr. Lhota shows that the primary race has entered a more heated phase. The advertisement takes advantage of Mr. Lhota’s biggest gaffe of the campaign—the ‘mall cops’ comment—and shows that Mr. Catsimatidis sees Mr. Lhota’s time at the transit authority as another potential vulnerability. But, at the same time, Mr. Catsimatidis is clearly taking some liberties in suggesting he could protect New Yorkers from fare increases, which is not within the mayor’s power.”
In response to Mr. Catsimatidis’s negative ad, the Lhota campaign deployed the Republican hero – Rudy. On Saturday, Joe Lhota released a new television advertisement, narrated by Mr. Giuliani, in response to “recent false accusations invented by John Catsimatidis,” the campaign announced.
“Because I care so much about our city, I just can’t stand by any longer and watch a great leader be so wrongly attacked. Joe Lhota is by far our best choice for mayor,” Giuliani tells the camera in the new 30-second spot. ”Joe’s opponent’s negative attacks are false, they’re desperate, and they’re just plain wrong. Our City deserves better.”
“All polls show John Catsimatidis losing and it is disappointing that a man who pledged to stay positive has now, in desperation, launched a series of untrue negative attacks,” said Jake Menges, a senior advisor to the Lhota campaign. “Mr. Catsimatidis will find out that neither his billions of dollars nor his negative attacks will help him become Mayor of the great City of New York.”
Mr. Lhota’s campaign also sent out a sharply-worded note to supporters penned by Mr. Lhota’s wife, Tamra.
“Today, John Catsimatidis began airing negative commercials against Joe – advertisements that are misleading, false and desperate,” she said in the letter, which quickly switched to a fund-raising plea.
“As you know, Mr. Catsimatidis has great wealth and unlimited financial resources. If New Yorkers are going to have a real choice at the ballot box in November, it will be because of your help and support for Joe at this crucial moment,” she wrote. “Please take a moment today to go online (click here) and make the most generous contribution you can. Your contribution, today, will give Joe the financial resources he needs to combat these lies and unfair distortions of his record.”
Defending the ad, Mr. Catsimatidis spokesman Rob Ryan told the Daily News, “I don’t know why the Lhota Campaign claims they’re being attacked. We are simply stating the facts about his record, and the fact that he has raised tolls and fares to the highest level they’ve ever been. He called it a ‘profile in courage.’ I call it picking the pockets of New York’s middle class.”