Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Hot Dog Days


(3) The non-Quinns will attack one another.
Quinn is likely to stay in first place, if underwhelmingly. Which means that everyone else will have a crucial decision to make in mid- to late summer: when to fight explicitly for second place. Thompson, De Blasio, and Liu have been bashing Quinn for months, with little to show for it. The first two have been stuck in the low double digits, and Liu scored just 6 percent in the most recent Quinnipiac poll. Weiner entered the race with 15 percent—and extraordinarily high negatives. Thompson and De Blasio could face a stark choice: In order to reach a runoff against Quinn, they may need to turn their fire against each other and possibly against Weiner. “It isn’t overt—yet—but behind the scenes they’re already very much trying to undercut one another,” an unaffiliated Democratic strategist says. The infighting is fiercest over minority votes. Thompson is temperamentally and strategically reluctant to assail his fellow Democrats. He’s trying to look like the moderate adult in the field and believes his history of attracting black and Latino support practically guarantees him a spot in the runoff. De Blasio’s personality is better suited to throwing elbows, but if he attacks Thompson, he’ll need to do it surgically. Speaking of trimming down …

(4) The candidates will get thinner.
“I always lose weight in summer campaigning,” Thompson says. “But I enjoy it—subways in the mornings and the afternoons, street festivals, block parties, talking to people about the issues they think are important.” Thompson says he already ­senses a different mood from four years ago, when he was trying to unseat the incumbent, Bloomberg. “I came out of a nephew’s birthday party at Red Rooster in Harlem late the other night. People were on the street, and the reaction was incredibly positive. They care. People realize it’s a contest this time around.” The shift from repetitive forums to retail politicking is an opportunity for Quinn: Instead of sitting onstage and absorbing gibes from her fellow candidates, she’ll be deploying her large personality directly. The ground game is a necessity for all the candidates (and healthy for democracy). They all have about the same $6 million to spend that’s allowed by public-campaign-finance rules. “Somebody may go up on TV early as a show buy—maybe in July—to get everyone in the press to write about it,” a campaign strategist says. “But you won’t see any real paid media until late August.” Which is when temperatures soar, raising the danger that …

(5) John Liu will spontaneously combust. A recent, typical itinerary: up before dawn to read; deliver son to school; eight hours in the comptroller’s office; four campaign stops, dashing from the West Village to Bay Ridge to Sunnyside to Howard Beach for a church pastor’s anniversary banquet that ends after 11 p.m. Liu’s next day starts with an early-morning appearance on CNBC and ends near midnight in the Bronx. His ambition has always been formidable; now he’s got bitterness driving him as well. Liu believes he’s been unfairly harassed by prosecutors and trashed by the English-­language media. As the most stridently anti-Bloomberg Dem, though, he’s been racking up political-club endorsements. Liu may not win, but he cannot be stopped, unless by exhaustion. He scoffs at that, too: “Summer campaigning is energizing,” Liu says. “The heat? That’s all in the mind.”

There’s no way that this five-way fight stays cool. Quinn, her poll numbers trending down, can’t simply play defense until September. Thompson, already running a more vigorous campaign than four years ago, needs to fend off De ­Blasio, who knows how to play crafty and rough. Liu is burning to prove that he’s being underestimated by the Establishment. Weiner? He’s merely trying to live up to his wife’s expectation that she was marrying a future mayor. And all of them will be trying to show they’re capable of taking charge of the city’s fragile post-Bloomberg future. It’s going to be a serious summer—setting up a furious sprint after Labor Day.



Current Issue
Subscribe to New York

Give a Gift