New York City Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota has two weeks to make a huge impression on New Yorkers.
According to a WSJ-NBC 4 NY-Marist poll from Oct. 10, Lhota has a 23 per cent rating compared to Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio’s 67 per cent.
Lhota has been steadily portraying de Blasio’s populism in a negative light, but his latest political ad goes even further by using footage from a nationally publicized biker attack last month, in which a motorcycle gang pulled a man from his SUV and beat him in front of his family.
The ad promises that de Blasio voters can expect similar situations to happen all the time if de Blasio is elected mayor:
The ad taps into Lhota’s narrative that if de Blasio is elected, New York City will regress to the high levels of crime that preceded the administrations of current mayor Michael Bloomberg and his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani. Lhota served as deputy mayor under Giuliani.
Most of the spot’s photos come from tense, graffiti-adorned moments from the administrations of Democratic mayors David Dinkins and Ed Koch. However, a shocking, black-and-white filtered photo of a corpse was taken last year, AM New York discovered in a thorough research piece.
The ad has some other misleading bits.
For one, what Lhota characterised as Blasio’s vote for a reduction in the police force actually corresponded to a budget proposal presented by Bloomberg. And the portrayal of de Blasio as a softie who wants to work out problems with bikers over a beer is a spun reference to his statement that cops need to tell bikers there will be no tolerance of street violence. The ad references the New York Post’s summary of an interview de Blasio gave WINS radio, though the Post’s piece made no mention of the police-biker dialogue comment.
The ad ends with “Don’t let de Blasio take New York backwards” superimposed over the shocking footage of a man bashing in an SUV’s driver side window.
De Blasio told reporters last week that the ad is “desperate,” “divisive,” and “inappropriate.” He compared it to the infamous Willie Horton ad, in which George H.W. Bush used an association between his opponent Michael Dukakis and lawless violence to great effect in 1986.
“Mr. de Blasio is lashing out because he knows New Yorkers don’t agree with his reckless and dangerous position on crime,” Lhota’s spokeswoman Jessica Proud told Politicker.
Upcoming poll numbers will reveal how the unsettling ad registers with New Yorkers, but it shows that the Lhota campaign is fighting more aggressively than ever to have a chance on Nov. 5.
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