It’s primary day here in New York City — where New Yorkers affiliated with a party will select their candidates for the general election in the high-profile mayoral and comptroller races, among others.
Because of the city’s Democratic-heavy split, many races serve as a de-facto general election. Then again, despite its liberal reputation, New York hasn’t elected a Democratic mayor since 1989.
Here’s everything you need to know to get ready for today:
Will Eliot Spitzer’s comeback bid fall short?
The big question heading into primary day is whether Spitzer, the former New York governor who resigned amid a prostitution scandal in 2008, has had the wind taken out of his sails in his quest to become the city’s next comptroller.
He was sailing along smoothly upon entering the race in mid-July, but a few recent polls show him in a dead heat, or even trailing, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
Then again, polling has been wildly inconsistent throughout this race. Just three weeks ago, Quinnipiac University gave Spitzer a 19-point lead. On Monday, it released a poll showing Stringer up 7 points. It’s hard to imagine that much natural swing in just a matter of three weeks without any major-moving events.
Prediction: It’ll come down to turnout. But really, this one is anyone’s guess.
Will Bill de Blasio avoid a runoff?
And the big question in the mayoral race is whether clear favourite and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has enough momentum to score a decisive victory in the Democratic primary and avoid a runoff that would keep him from campaigning in a general election for another month.
De Blasio’s candidacy has undergone a dramatic rise from afterthought to clear front-runner in the past month and a half. One voter outside an Upper East Side polling location in Manhattan said that she barely knew about de Blasio a couple months ago, but that “he’s really surprised me.”
De Blasio needs to earn 40% of the Democratic vote to avoid a runoff. He is right on the cusp. Here’s a look at where things stand, according to an average (rounded) of three polls released Sunday night and Monday:
- De Blasio: 38%
- Former Comptroller Bill Thompson: 21%
- City Council Speaker Christine Quinn: 17%
- Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner: 7%
- Comptroller John Liu: 5%
Prediction: De Blasio falls just short of 40%. Bold, I know. He and Thompson are in for another month of battling.
Who will de Blasio face in the general election?
If, as expected, de Blasio eventually prevails on the Democratic side, his likely Republican opponent is former MTA chairman Joe Lhota. According to a Quinnipiac poll last week, Republican voters preferred him over businessman John Catsimatidis by a 2-to-1 margin.
If New York City’s recent electoral history is any indication, Lhota could provide de Blasio with a significant challenge. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg will likely endorse him if de Blasio wins the Democratic primary, and Lhota could look to the business community for allies against de Blasio’s tax-the-rich agenda.
Who else is even running?
A quick rundown of other interesting races:
- Public Advocate: The favourites are Democrats State Sen. Daniel Squadron and City Council member Letisha James. The upstart Reshma Saujani has created a buzz within the tech community, but she’s not likely to win.
- Manhattan Borough President: The race to succeed Stringer is wide open with four candidates: Julie Menin, a businesswoman and former Community Board 1 chairwoman, upper West Side Councilwoman Gale Brewer, upper East Side Councilwoman Jessica Lappin and Harlem Councilman Robert Jackson. Menin has raised the most money, and both she and Jackson have a slew of big-name endorsements.
- The Brooklyn District Attorney campaign has devolved into an ugly, race-baiting one, with former federal prosecutor Ken Thompson looking to unseat 23-year incumbent Charles Hynes. Ads on the lighter side of the campaign’s rhetoric have featured chickens and snakes.
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