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Citizens Union

The Eye-Opener

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The final debate for the Democratic candidates for mayor last night was used primarily as a means to attack Bill de Blasio, who has become the front runner in the polls. He was hit on issues like his support for a tax hike on the rich to pay for prekindergarten classes - which his opponents point out needs Albany's approval. De Blasio was attacked for supporting expansion of term limits when he was running for Speaker. His late support for a living wage bill was another source of contention, as was his acceptance of earmarks. The candidates did, however, elaborate on their stances towards union contract negotiations a bit. De Blasio said the city couldn't afford to give the unions all the retroactive raises they want, while most of them said they wouldn't raise taxes to pay the workers. The NY Times published a useful fact checking piece for their claims throughout the debate here.

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A new Quinnipiac poll finds Bill de Blasio leading the pack of mayoral candidates in the Democratic primary, with 30 percent of likely voters supporting him. Christine Quinn dropped to second with 24 percent. The poll also found him winning in a runoff election against Quinn, which is called if no candidate wins over 40 percent of the vote. De Blasio began advertising on television last week, but his popularity may be due to his stance on stop-and-frisk. He's also the only candidate to support a tax increase on the wealthy. Despite the poll, it was Quinn who took the most attacks in the mayoral debate last night. After all, a third of those polled said they may change their minds.

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Yesterday the Campaign Finance Board denied $3.5 million in matching funds for John Liu's mayoral campaign, citing evidence of pervasive violations of campaign finance laws. It is largest penalty in the history of the program. Liu's lawyer called it a "death penalty." The campaign has already spent hundreds of thousands on legal fees and only has $1.5 million left. Liu argued that the irregularities were due to the make up of his donors, who are "overwhelmingly immigrant and first-time donors to any campaign." But a probe by the firm Thacher Associates found straw donors and other problems with the campaign's fundraising.

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Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner admitted to continuing lewd online exchanges with female admirers well after resigning from Congress amid a sexting scandal.

After images of Weiner's private parts and texts of private conversations with an admirer were made public yesterday by a gossip blog, the former congressman held a news conference to apologize for his behavior and to reaffirm his desire to be the next mayor.

Weiner said he would not drop out of the race. His wife, Huma Abedin, stood by his side.

"We discussed all of this before Anthony decided he would run for mayor, so really what I want to say is, I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him," she said in a statement she read to reporters.

With the election increasingly looking like a made-for-the-tabloids drama, the political establishment began calling for the candidate to drop out of the race.

"The serially evasive Mr. Weiner should take his marital troubles and personal compulsions out of the public eye, away from cameras, off the Web and out of the race for mayor of New York City," The New York Times Editorial Board wrote.

A handful of rival candidate for mayor also called for him to drop out.

GothamVotes: Bringing you real-time news on the historic 2013 elections.

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Anthony Weiner has raised $829,000 since he declared his campaign for mayor. Taxi drivers and dispatch employees gave him over $12,000 the day he announced his opposition to Bloomberg's outer borough taxi plan. Christine Quinn’s mayoral campaign has the most cash on hand -- nearly $6 million, compared to $4.8 million for Weiner. Mayoral candidate Joe Lhota pulled in $516,000 between May and July but spent $732,000. Scott Stringer raised $110,000 in the four days following Eliot Spitzer's announcement that he was challenging Stringer in the comptroller race. That number is more than Stringer raised in nearly a year of fundraising before. In state election news, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spent $115,000 in campaign funds during the past six months to pay legal bills stemming from his involvement in the Vito Lopez harassment scandal. And 80 percent of the cash Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised this election cycle came from donors who gave $10,000 or more. Meanwhile, the senate's Independent Democratic Conference announced that it has $2,835,000 on hand.

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Bill Thompson isn't scared by poor showings in recent polls.

In recent polls from both Quinnipiac and Marist College, the former comptroller and second-time mayoral candidate has stayed in the low double digits while former Congressman Anthony Weiner creeps up and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn tumbles downwards.

"I've yet to see the polls be particularly accurate," Thompson said. "They've been inaccurate through most of my career and many of the elections that I've seen, they've been incredibly inaccurate. This is about Sept. 10 and the primary. That'll be the great indicator."

Whether or not the polls are inaccurate, Thompson continues to shore up support from both Latino elected leaders and long-time New York political stalwarts. The latest came earlier today from former Congressman Herman Badillo.

Badillo was the first Puerto Rican to serve as Bronx borough president and as U.S. House representative. He also served as a deputy mayor to former Mayor Ed Koch. The 83-year-old joined Thompson in East Harlem today to announce his endorsement.

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Former Congressman Anthony Weiner's entry into the mayoral race ate into City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's lead among likely Democratic voters, a new poll shows.

A Marist College poll released today showed that despite a 4 percentage point drop from April, Quinn still has a command across the Democratic spectrum: liberals, conservatives and moderates. She also came out in front across most of the boroughs, save for Brooklyn. However, where Quinn falls short is in loyalty among voters, proving that the race is still hers to lose.

Of those who said that they support Quinn, almost three out of four Democratic respondents said that they somewhat support her or might vote differently come the September primary. That's good news to the whole slate of candidates, potentially even more so for Weiner.

Weiner actually enjoyed the highest bump after he announced his candidacy last week, up 4 percentage points to 19 from his 15 percent in April. Despite Quinn's drop in the poll to 24 percent from last month's 26 percent, he still trailed the speaker by five points.

Weiner did have a lead on Quinn in his home borough of Brooklyn, although Public Advocate Bill de Blasio isn't too far behind. Fresh off a spate of labor endorsements, De Blasio inched up 1 percentage point among Democrats citywide. He also barely edges out former Comptroller Bill Thompson — who remains steady at 11 percent.

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Anthony Weiner's entry into the mayoral race continues grabbing headlines. A mass of reporters trailed him around the city yesterday. The campaign will be one lacking institutional support. Gov. Cuomo "joked" that it would be a "shame" if he were elected. Weiner's wife - a Clinton operative - has been a main architect of the campaign. Since he left office, he didn't have to release financial disclosure forms like most of his Democratic competitors. Some have speculated that the midnight leak of his announcement was meant to keep puns off the front pages.

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Former Congressman Anthony Weiner announced his campaign last night with a video ad on his Web site. It went up accidentally at first but was still viewable on mobile browsers. He brings with him a $4.8 million war chest and could force a run-off election with rival candidate Council Speaker Christine Quinn. He was forced to resign from Congress over a sexting scandal and ran a strategic consulting firm during his absence. He has a 64 point plan with ideas spanning from giving public school students Kindles to using Medicaid money to create a city-run, single-payer health system for the uninsured.

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As Democratic mayoral candidates continue to court political leaders in the outer boroughs, former Comptroller Bill Thompson today secured an endorsement from one of the Bronx's most powerful Latino leaders.

Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. stood in front of City Hall alongside Thompson, touting the former comptroller's commitment to the Bronx and his track record with the community.

Díaz said Thompson has shown that when worked on "broader issues" that "there's been equity."

"There's a certain commitment," he said. "There's a heart that he has that says, 'I want to do for all New Yorkers.'"

Diaz said that he had been in talks with other Democratic candidates who vied for his endorsement, namely Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

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The hard-earned lessons of Superstorm Sandy shaped a mayoral forum yesterday where candidates fielded questions on waterfront development, expanding ferry service and creating a new agency to oversee the city's vast coastline. "Make no mistake," said Democratic candidate and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, "you get to say once, 'It was an unprecedented storm.' You don't get to do that again." Six candidates were asked to respond to policy proposals put forward by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance that touches on everything from docks to land use. The public also got to submit questions. Continue reading the story on the Gotham Gazette to see what the other candidates had to say ... 

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The New York Post reports that State Sen. Malcolm Smith was arrested today for trying to bribe GOP leaders into getting his name on their mayoral ballot. He allegedly had Councilman Dan Halloran, a Republican, meet with party leaders and negotiate thousands in bribes. Halloran was also arrested today and is accused of collecting thousands in bribes for himself.

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Joseph Lhota, the M.T.A. chairman, will step down on Friday and is expected run for mayor as a Republican. A law prevents him from entering the race while holding the chairmanship. He's received widespread praise for his response to Superstorm Sandy. But the agency will adopt its new budget on Wednesday, and is expected to vote on approving a slate of fare and toll increases. It is likely he'd face primary challengers as well.

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