Thursday, August 22, 2013

Choosing Alcalde: New York Democratic Mayoral Candidates Debate on TV and Woo Latino Voters

By Claudio Iván Remeseira| Posted Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, at 2:15 pm ET

With less than three weeks to go until the September 10 primary, seven Democrats running for mayor clashed over stop-and-frisk and health care issues at a Wednesday night debate aired on NY1, which was also sponsored by WNYC and the city Campaign Finance Board.

"In a 90-minute debate characterized by finger-jabbing, shouting, cracked voices, and flying accusations,  [New York City Public Advocate] Bill de Blasio came under the first sustained fire of the campaign from opponents [City Council Speaker]  Christine C. Quinn and [former City Comptroller] Bill Thompson. And while he didn't lose his cool, de Blasio also appeared marginally less comfortable under the kleig lights than rival Quinn," says WNYC's Anna Sale. The exchanges and recriminations over stop-and-frisk were one of the hottest moments of the night. Take a listen:


"Amazingly, Anthony Weiner was almost an afterthought while [New York City Comptroller] John Liu had a strong night, especially in his attacks against de Blasio," says NY1 columnist Bob Hardt. "It seems unlikely that Weiner can recover from the return of his sexting scandal while Liu may be financially crippled in a race where his top rivals will be able to vastly outspend him."

However, as Buzzfeed's Jacob Fischler reports, Weiner was able to turn attention away from his sexting scandal when he went after Quinn and de Blasio over a 2008 slush fund case. There was also the comic relief moment when Moderator Errol Louis asked the candidates whether they had ever texted while driving, to which Weiner quickly responded in the affirmative.

There was, however, one big agreement: all candidates support stoop drinking.

At the same time, the candidates are practicing their Spanish and buying ad minutes in Hispanic media to attract Latino voters, which are expected to represent between 15 to 22 percent of the turnout. 

Among registered Democrats who are Hispanic, City Council Speaker Quinn held a double-digit lead over her nearest rival, Anthony Weiner, with 27% of the vote, according to a recent Wall Street Journal-NBC 4 New York-Marist poll.

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