The long sludge of New York City’s mayoral primary season is almost over. On Tuesday the five contenders in the Democratic race—including front-runner Bill de Blasio, his current biggest challenger, Bill Thompson, and former front-runner Christine Quinn—duked it out on live television, with Quinn and peripheral candidates Anthony Weiner and John Liu aiming to loosen de Blasio’s grip on recent poll numbers in the hopes of forcing a runoff election. It wasn’t pretty.
ABC 7, the Associated Press, and the New York Times each called the 90-minute debate a “free-for-all,” and highlighted each candidate’s attempt to muddy de Blasio’s populist reputation. Quinn, recently endorsed by the Times, latched onto campaign donations de Blasio accepted from landlords listed in the “worst landlords” directory maintained by the city’s Public Advocate, the office de Blasio currently holds. In return, de Blasio attacked Quinn’s infamous double about-face on ending mayoral term limits, which she originally endorsed, then didn’t, then did again, thereby securing the third and current term of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (De Blasio changed his mind on term limits just once.)
Poor Anthony Weiner, positioned on the stage’s far left, played the role of traffic cop/impromptu moderator, which only reminded viewers that Anthony Weiner exists, and that he is running for mayor.
The debate’s question-asking panelists served as their own sideshow, imploring the candidates to explain their position on stop-and-frisk in less than 15 seconds and asking, for apparently no reason at all, whether any of the candidates were finding it difficult to pay their bills:
The debate served as the final encounter between all five candidates before voting begins on September 10. Which, again, cannot come soon enough.
[Video via ABC 7]