Anthony Weiner’s entry in the race for New York City’s next mayor hurt the chances of Bill de Blasio, but the rapid tumble in Weiner’s ratings have turned things around for the liberal de Blasio, the city’s public advocate.
“When Weiner entered the race, de Blasio was the most hurt, since they were both outer borough candidates appealing to the same progressive voters,” Jeanne Zaino, a New York University political science professor, told the Gothamist. “Those people have now turned to him.”
De Blasio’s popularity doubled in the past four weeks, according to last week’s Quinnipiac University poll, and now is a virtual tie with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Weiner, who a month ago was in first place, now is in fourth. Ex-comptroller Bill Thompson, who has been endorsed by Assemblyman Dov Hikind, is in third place.
Bill de Blasio is not a Hasid, although he represented Borough Park in the city Council. Nevertheless, the NY Post took issue with the mayoral hopeful getting rid of his beard as soon as he was considered a serious candidate for mayor.
“As a Brooklyn councilman, de Blasio sported a beard when elected in 2001, taming it to a rakish mustache and goatee by the time he was public advocate in 2010. Just a year later, he made his smooth transition,” the Post noted.
“I didn’t leave my beard — my beard left me,” de Blasio told The Post, explaining that it was vanity, not politics, that led him to shave it off. “I started to notice flecks of gray . . . and I didn’t like the look,” de Blasio admitted, adding he “immediately felt younger after the shave.”
Experts said de Blasio’s close call makes sense, because conventional wisdom says facial hair doesn’t cut it in politics.
“In modern times, it makes the general public wince,” said political consultant George Arzt, who worked on de Blasio’s campaign for public advocate. Voters find facial hair “untrustworthy,” he added.
However, Arzt cautioned, “you can’t keep switching off from beard to mustache and goatee to nothing — then you don’t have a steady image of that person. That could work against him.”
Which raises the question: can a candidate with a beard become mayor of New York City? Maybe that’s why Joe Lhota, the Republican favorite, is considered a long shot. Joe Lhota — is the lone bearded candidate in the race. The last bearded mayor of New York City was William Gaynor, who served from 1910 to 1913. He was also the only mayor targeted by an assassin; he survived being shot in the throat in 1910, but died three years later.
“Having facial hair is not a determent,” Lhota declared to The Post. “I have no desire to shave it. That’s not going to happen. Plus, Republicans can get away with it more than Democrats, because they have this image of being self-made people.”
And Arzt confirmed to the post: “if anyone can pull it off, Lhota can, because the beard is part of his personality.”
More than 35,000 marchers and 17 bands marched Sunday with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the city’s mayoral candidates in saluting Israel and the Jewish community in New York.
Mr. Weiner, who is the only Jewish candidate running in the Democratic primary, was cheered by many marchers and onlookers, but many also booed by some who still remember the Twitter scandal. “This is a great day,” the candidate said as he marched, according to Politicker. “Before I stepped aside, I had come to this parade every single year. It’s one of [the] real joys of my schedule, so it’s great to be back.”
“Am Yisrael Chai! Am Yisrael Chai!” he bellowed every few feet. “God bless America! Am Yisrael Chai! Welcome to New York!”
Appearing for the first time with all of his Democratic rivals on stage, Anthony Weiner sought to stand out, for the second time in a row, ahead of his competitors. At a Jewish Press mayoral forum in Manhattan Beach, Mr. Weiner claimed to be the first to oppose Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s regulation on the traditional practice of Metzitzah B’peh.
“I first spoke about Metzitzah B’peh when I ran in 2005,” Mr. Weiner said at the first forum on issues relating to the Orthodox Jewish community. “I was trying to get anyone possible to talk about it in the context of that campaign because, you know, this didn’t start last week,” he said. ”This has been going on for years now, that this battle has been going on, and for me it comes down to my values as someone who believes in the ethos of New York.”
Adding, “Part of that ethos of New York is we all come from different places, we bring different cultures, we bring different ideas, and we are never too far from our mother country. We try to bring those traditions here and that’s very, very important and part of the fundamental structure of the frum community.”
Mr. Weiner was quoted in the Jewish Forward during his first run for mayor, in 2005: “It is not the place of the Department of Health to be deciding on a religious practice. I am troubled, based on the facts of this case, about whether or not the city has overreached here.”
In comparison to Mr. Weiner walking around the issue, the remaining candidates directly addressed the issue at great concern to the frum community. Sal Albanese and Bill de Blasio promised to review the issue and discuss the matter with the rabbis and community leaders in order to find common ground. Speaker Christine Quinn defended the consent form requirement as a balance between religious freedom and public health concerns. John Liu and Rev. Erick Salgado were the only candidates to pledge to discontinue the city’s anti-Metztitzah B’peh regulations.
There are not many issues the Democratic mayoral hopefuls agree on, especially when they are seated at one table. However, on the one issue that is of great concern to the Jewish community, amid the high cost of tuition and transportation, all of the candidates held hands together in opposing school choice vouchers or tax credit relief.
At The Jewish Press forum in Manhattan Beach Wednesday evening, none of the viable candidates seeking to succeed Mayor Bloomberg expressed their support for some kind of relief to struggling parents who are not willing to enroll in the public school system.
In a previous conversation with this reporter, Republican mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota promised to fight hard for school choice vouchers if elected. “The mayor can use the bully pulpit to advocate in Albany for private schools,” he said. “It’s important that our children are properly educated. The role of the government and the role of the state is making sure they have the proper textbooks, making sure they are secure and making sure that they have transportation. The children that go to parochial schools and yeshivas are residents and the children of taxpayers in the city of New York, and they are not getting their fair share,” he asserted.
“On the issue of tax credits, I have been in favor of that. I have yet to find a way that it would cover the full tuition, but some form of a tax credit, to give relief to parents who pay for property tax as well and all the other taxes in New York, and are also paying tuition,” Mr. Lhota proclaimed.
He dropped the 140 character on Twitter, a tool that forced him to resign two years ago, for a much faster and well prepared 140 second video message. As if it were a secret, Anthony Weiner finally put all rumors to rest and jumped right into the mayoral race, just in time for petitioning season.
“Look, I made some big mistakes. And I know I let a lot of people down. But I’ve also learned some tough lessons. I’m running for mayor ‘cuz I’ve been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life. And I hope I get a second chance to work for you,” Mr. Weiner says in the video. Second chances? It’s up to the voters this time.
An April 19, 2013 Quinnipiac University survey gives Weiner 15 percent of Democratic primary voters in the New York City mayor’s race, but he has a negative favorability of 41-33, and back then only half the voters thought it was a good idea for him to run at all.
Now that he’s running, those numbers could improve, at least initially.
In the same poll, Christine Quinn led the Democratic primary field with 28 percent, well short of the 40 percent needed to avoid a primary runoff. Her support included 31 percent of women and 24 percent of men. Results for other candidates were:
15 percent for Weiner, including 20 percent of men and 12 percent of women;
11 percent for Bill de Blasio, including 10 percent of men and 12 percent of women;
10 percent for William Thompson, including 14 percent of men and 7 percent of women;
9 percent for John Liu, including 9 percent of men and 8 percent of women.
Sorry Mr. Weiner and Mr. Catsimatidis, we just can’t do it to Bill (BDB) or Chris. Bill and Hillary Clinton are making clear they are staying out of the New York City Democratic mayoral primary,Maggie Haberman reports.
The pair of stay-on-the-sidelines statements came as Anthony Weiner is set to declare his candidacy by video this week, likely on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Haberman. But the statements seem aimed at avoiding the appearance of taking sides in a race that includes the potential first female (and first openly gay) Democratic nominee, a potential black New York mayor, and Hillary Clinton’s own former Senate campaign manager, Bill de Blasio.
“Secretary Clinton knows all of the candidates, she has worked with many of them, and is close with many of them, so won’t be weighing in one way or the other,” Hillary Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement to POLITICO.
Likewise, Bill Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna said, “President Clinton has too many friends in this race who have been good to him and his family. He wishes them all well, but won’t be getting involved.”
Last week, in a pitch to NYC Jewish voters, some of the mayoral candidates opted for the least expensive, but often most appreciated, gesture, and tweeted a greeting to the Jewish community celebrating the holiday of Shavu’ot.
Sal Albanese impressed with an extraordinary tweet in Hebrew:
Republican hopeful Joe Lhota tweeted his greetings from his private account, receiving a lot of Retweets:
Public Advocate and mayoral hopeful Bill de Balsio tweeted, this time not the first, a short message pronouncing Shavuos in Chasidish: