The era of good feelings in the mayoral race–if it ever existed in the first place–is officially over.
Pulling no punches, the five leading Democrats tangled repeatedly at a mayoral debate televised by ABC tonight, marking the latest and most furious phase of the long campaign. While all of the candidates traded barbs, it was Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Anthony Weiner who exchanged perhaps the most bitter blows.
“So, Anthony’s right, we’ve all heard a lot about his personal issues. For me, the bigger issue is his record,” said Ms. Quinn in response to a question about Mr. Weiner’s sexting scandal. “I listed some of what I’ve accomplished in City Hall. But if you look at Anthony’s record in Congress, it was passing one piece of legislation at the request of a campaign contributor who was a tobacco distributor. That is not a record of results for middle class New Yorkers.”
After the conclusion of last night’s second televised mayoral debate, the campaigns of two Democratic candidates–Bill de Blasio and Erick Salgado–stood up and proudly issued press releases declaring victory.
“Mayoral candidate Erick Salgado wowed the audience at Wednesday evening’s Mayoral Forum, held in Hunter College’s Danny Kaye Theater,” the Salgado campaign said in a glowing, dozen-paragraph assessment of his performance. “Salgado had the audience of over 800 cheering in response to almost every issue or proposed initiative he discussed.”
A pack of boisterous Anthony Weiner volunteers nearly overwhelmed rival camps last night outside the first televised debate of the ex-congressman’s mayoral campaign. Several dozen strong, the Weiner devotees serenaded the once-fallen legislator with cheers as he crossed Lexington Avenue, their numbers dwarfing their opponents’.
“Anthony! Anthony! Anthony!” the volunteers, many of them in their twenties and thirties, chanted as Mr. Weiner–clad in a suit and jacket for perhaps the first time on the campaign trail–shook hands and schmoozed with his fans outside of Hunter College. The event was highly-orchestrated but nevertheless demonstrated that Mr. Weiner, nearly a month into his campaign, has been able to wrangle together a solid number of volunteers despite an embarrassing Twitter scandal that drove him from Congress two years ago.