Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis professed to be unconcerned about rival candidate Bo Dietl, trying to instead focus on Bill de Blasio in a brief discussion today. Malliotakis is the only Republican who qualified for the primary and will therefor be the Republican nominee, de Blasio is widely expected to easily win the Democratic primary and Dietl has filed petitions seeking to be on a self-created line in the general election.
Dietl issued a press release this morning, dubbing himself “Feisty Bo Dietl,” touting his and Malliotakis’ scheduled appearance at a candidate forum Tuesday evening. I spoke with Malliotakis shortly afterwards, during a visit to Stuyvesant Gardens II, a NYCHA development in Bed-Stuy.
Malliotakis avoided answering directly on whether she plans to challenge Dietl’s petitions seeking a spot on the November general election ballot, saying “we have to wait until all the petitions are filed” before deciding. (The deadline for filing is tomorrow. Dietl tweeted last Tuesday that he filed 10,000 signatures.) She mostly avoided directly discussing what she expects in the candidate forum Tuesday evening in which she, Dietl and several Democratic candidates, but not Bill de Blasio, will participate. Malliotakis expressed a general eagerness to debate and “share ideas,” and expressed disappointment that de Blasio will not participate tomorrow.
Malliotakis’ steep challenge in trying to beat Bill de Blasio is made even tougher by Dietl’s presence in the race. Assuming his petitions are validated and he makes the November ballot, he’s a serious complication for Malliotakis. Although neither Malliotakis or Dietl are in a primary, they essentially have an informal primary seeking to emerge as the main de Blasio challenger. There’s a significant overlap among their respective bases, with Malliotakis receiving party support but Dietl more widely known from his TV and radio appearances. A recent Quinnipiac poll had de Blasio at 52%, Malliotakis at 15% and Dietl at 11%, a deeply problematic result for Malliotakis. Today Malliotakis brushed off the poll results, professing indifference toward Dietl and saying that she’s “not really concerned about the polls at this point.”
Here’s our full exchange: