All posts by John Kenny

Lhota & The Bloomberg Shadow



Michael Bloomberg is central to many of the challenges facing Joe Lhota in his uphill quest to be New York City’s next mayor.  Although they’re far from identical, as highly accomplished managers Lhota and Bloomberg share a basic characteristic, appearing to be driven more by process and accomplishment than ideology.   Lhota’s not casting himself as the “next Bloomberg”, however, and is trying to find a way to effectively navigate the pluses and minuses in Bloomberg’s legacy.   Central to that is convincing voters who think that Bloomberg did well overall, and that the City has improved during his tenure, that Lhota is the candidate capable of effectively managing the city, even as those voters are ready for a change of personality in City Hall.  We spoke with Lhota at the Feast of San Gennaro.

Bloomberg’s Endorsement:

On Friday, Bloomberg announced that he does not plan to endorse a candidate in the mayor’s race.  Lhota put a brave face on, characterizing it as “excellent news” conveying the message that “governance is really more important than politics” when asked about it by NY1’s Grace Rauh.  Perhaps, but Lhota is in the zero-sum game of politics, and no election victory means no governance.

Differing With Bloomberg:

Among Lhota’s challenges is how he casts himself vis-a-vis the Bloomberg administration and it’s policies.  He generally speaks highly of the Bloomberg administration, but offers a variety of pointed critiques of specific actions.  Lhota has recently cast himself as a “change” mayor, seeking to harness the evolving sense among much of the electorate that Bloomberg’s time has run.  I asked Lhota how he would differ from Bloomberg.

A Voter’s View of Bloomberg:

A brief encounter with a passing voter encapsulates Lhota’s Bloomberg challenge.  She appears to be a core part of support Lhota needs; what the pundits refer to as a “white outer-borough ethnic”, without whom Lhota has no chance of winning.  She’s no Bloomberg-lover, however, beginning their encounter with “I hope you do a better job than that last idiot”.

Runoff Election Is On!



In the race for Public Advocate, that is.  Preliminary results from the Democratic primary for Public Advocate have Letitia (“Tish”) James at 36% and Daniel Squadron at 33%.  It appears highly unlikely that the final count will have either over 40% and a runoff election will therefor be held in the Democratic Public Advocate primary.

We spoke with Tish James this morning outside the National Action Network’s House of Justice, where James had just appeared with Al Sharpton and other candidates, including Bill de Blasio.  I asked James how she thought the runoff would differ from the five person primary.  She aptly notes that there will almost certainly be more attention given to the PA race than it received it the primary.  I also asked about her defeated rivals.

Three Devices!



While organizing many hours of primary season video footage, we stumbled upon video evidence of a major advance in journalistic techniques; a reporter employing a two-hand three-device method.  Keep your eye on the reporter on the right, whose hand is at first obscured by a microphone.

Early in the election cycle we documented the progenitor of the two-hand two-device method in action.

Quinn Press Conference (Updated)



Today City Council Speaker Christine Quinn answered questions concerning her future and the mayoral race.  She spoke at a City Hall press conference announcing city council bills concerning the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and an organic waste composting pilot program.  After discussing the primary topics, Quinn took questions about the mayoral race for about 5 minutes.  She appeared tired, with an element of loss apparent, but kept a smile going throughout.  She was most animated in responding to a question premised on the notion that New York is “apparently incapable of electing a woman mayor.”  She disputed the premise and spoke excitedly of the day when that will happen.

Legislative Priority for Remainder of Term?:

I asked Speaker Quinn whether she has a legislative priority for her remaining time as speaker.

Update – Extended Clip:

Here is the portion of the press conference in which Speaker Quinn discusses the mayor’s race.  It runs about 5 minutes.

Lhota Visits Chabad-Lubavitch (Updated x 2)



This morning Joe Lhota visited the Rebbe’s Ohel, the gravesite of Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, in Cambria Heights.  He spoke with the press afterwards at the adjacent Ohel Chabad-Lubavitch Center.

Update #2 – Full Press Availability:

Here is Joe Lhota’s full press availability.

Update – Lhota re: a de Blasio Administration:

Joe Lhota was asked what the future would be like under a de Blasio administration.

Honey Cake:

Here’s a brief clip in which Lhota receives a traditional gift of honey cake.  This campaign honey cake moment proceeded much more smoothly than the infamous Anthony Weiner honey cake episode.

Anthony Weiner Runs Through McDonald’s



Anthony Weiner could not, in the end, escape his past.  As his supporters waited inside at a primary election party, Weiner’s one-time sexting partner waited on the street hoping to confront him.  His staff arranged a sneak entrance, devising a route which took him through a McDonald’s two doors up the street and into a freight elevator shared by the McDonald’s and the party venue.  It was a poor end to what had been in many ways, despite a low vote total, a well-done campaign.

Spitzer Speaks, Splits



Eliot Spitzer voted this afternoon in a prototypical Spitzer event: arrive on-time, take care of the business at hand expeditiously and move on.  He arrived right on time at his polling place, Manhattan’s P.S. 6, went inside, voted and came out.  Total time from arriving at the school steps to back in the car, including a 1/2 block walk?  About 7 minutes.  That includes just over 1 minute talking to the press.  You can watch that 1 minute press availability right here.

The only glitch?  A reporter, from the New York Post I believe, wanted to ask “where is your wife?”  Here’s what happened.

Weiner Votes As Campaign Concludes



We have video from Anthony Weiner’s visit to his polling place.  Accompanied by his young son, Weiner discussed the campaign as reporters and photographers came along for what is virtually certain to be the last day of his mayoral campaign.  It was vintage Weiner: steady on his standard talking points, open to questions and giving a few flashes of humor, all while projecting a fairly positive attitude despite the likely election results.