NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Trailing nearly 50 points in the polls as the New York City mayoral campaign enters its final two weeks, Republican Joe Lhota is ratcheting up his attacks on frontrunner Bill de Blasio.
Lhota, a one-time deputy mayor to Rudolph Giuliani, has unleashed a new negative TV ad, so harsh that the de Blasio campaign dubbed it “fear-mongering” and other elected officials called for it to be pulled. He has also toughened up his rhetoric in the days before a potentially pivotal moment in the campaign, Tuesday’s debate.
“There’s an old Irish expression, ‘If you want to get an audience, start a fight,”’ said Bill Cunningham, a former top adviser to outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“De Blasio is dominating the media and the political landscape right now while some voters still don’t have a clear picture of who Lhota is,” Cunningham said. “If you’re the underdog, you have to land a few punches and back up the champ or you can’t win.”