Bill de Blasio - Call it ‘fro-mentum. De Blasio’s slow climb to the top of the Democratic mayoral field was punctuated this week by the most recent polls, which has him around 15 points ahead of the field and within striking distance of the 40 percent threshold necessary to avoid a runoff. While the numbers will likely be closer come September 10th, de Blasio’s campaign narrative appears to be resonating with voters—particularly within the city’s African-American community, where he has made huge gains—likely, in part, because of his family’s active involvement in the race. De Blasio’s wife, Chirlane, who is black, appears with him at many campaign stops and his son Dante has become something of a celebrity in this race thanks to his starring role in de Blasio’s campaign ads (as well as a recent NBC segment where he schooled his dad in basketball)—and, yes, his magnificently coiffed afro.
Gale Brewer - Once as good as gold, The New York Times’ endorsement has waned in influence in recent years—and its value will be tested once again this season by Christine Quinn and Scott Stringer’s performances in the looming primary. But the one place where it still carries unquestionable weight is Manhattan, and perhaps no race is more impacted by the judgment of The Grey Lady than Manhattan Borough President. While the current showdown for the job remains a tight contest between four credible candidates, The Times’ embrace of West Side Councilwoman Gale Brewer this week may very well prove its deciding factor, in Brewer’s favor.
Ruben Diaz Jr. – Talk about a Bronx Bomber! The Boogie Down Borough’s President opted to sit out a run for citywide office this cycle, but he proved that none of the mayoral candidates—nor any other candidate for that matter—could step to him—at least at stickball. By blasting a 250-foot home run that shot clear out of Cadman Plaza, Diaz Jr. won bragging rights at City & State’s Candidate Stickball Challenge this week, and earned national media recognition for his victory. Honorable mention goes to public advocate candidate Reshma Saujani, who kicked off her heels, stepped to the plate, and smashed a 180-foot drive that drew gasps from the crowd. Now that’s leaning in!
Tom DiNapoli - Christmas has come early for municipalities and playing Santa Claus is none other than State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. This week DiNapoli announced that the state pension fund has been performing well and therefore employers—mostly local governments—will be able to contribute less in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. For cash-strapped cities and counties the announcement was manna from heaven. We all know the financial picture can change rapidly, so mayors and county executives shouldn’t be reaching for the Cristal yet, but this week they can breath a little easier thanks to Tom.
Eric Schneiderman - The old “Sheriff of Wall Street” is back in the news with a comeback run for city comptroller, but Eric Schneiderman, the state’s current attorney general, is showing that he won’t be upstaged. This week he picked a fight with none other than Donald Trump over the for-profit Trump University, which a civil case accuses of having been unlicensed, misleading and fraudulent. Schneiderman said that nobody—“no matter how rich or famous they are”—has a right to scam students. Trump loudly asserted his innocence, but that may only serve to boost Schneiderman’s growing national profile.
Nelson Castro - Always tell the truth! That’s what our mothers told us. If Nelson’s mom did the same, it didn’t sink in. The former assemblyman, already under probation for perjury, was bagged again for lying to federal officials. Luckily for him he does appear to be telling the truth about some of his old colleagues’ potentially illegal activities so he won’t be punished as harshly for his latest lies, but his hopes for a political comeback are probably done now.
RoAnn Destito - It is hard to find good help—especially at the Office of General Services. This week we learned that an OGS employee busted for a DWI shortly after leaving work in 2011 is still on the job. The incident did lead to an Inspector General investigation, however, that uncovered violations by nine other OGS employees—including watching Dancing with the Stars while on the job (to be fair, it was the finals!). As a commissioner for the Cuomo administration, which is hell-bent on cleaning up the image of state government, you can imagine that Destito didn’t have a fun week.
David Flaum – In a deal with the Seneca Nation, Rochester developer David Flaum was in line to get a multimillion-dollar bonus if he could pave the way for a new tribal casino in Monroe County. But as the Times Union pointed out, such an agreement could land Flaum, a registered lobbyist, in hot water with the state’s ethics commission since such contingency deals are prohibited for lobbyists. Flaum argued that he was a developer, not a lobbyist, but that may not be up to him to decide—especially if he follows through on efforts to get a casino compact for the Senecas. Or maybe he’ll fold this hand.
Ray Kelly - Kelly’s Muslim surveillance program came back up this week with a report that the NYPD secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations, allowing the department to spy on imams giving sermons, even without any evidence of criminal activity. The news couldn’t have come at a worse time for Kelly, who is embroiled in a seemingly never-ending debate over the NYPD’s alleged racial profiling through the use of stop-and-frisk policing. On the other hand, the Commish is also a candidate for one of the country’s top defense posts, running the Department of Homeland Security, and judging by the Obama administration’s own reportedly extensive surveillance programs through the NSA, perhaps Kelly would fit right in.
Anthony Weiner - Weiner went through his latest cycle of ignominy this week when the Post revealed that his campaign had hired a California-based rent-a-crowd firm to provide “supporters” at his campaign stops. Weiner’s campaign appearances are often a spectacle, owing to the incessant media coverage he has attracted, but also because of the hordes of people at seemingly every stop. As it turns out, many of those people are paid actors, who feign their support for Weiner or act as if they are initially skeptical, only to be convinced by Weiner. Weiner also had several of his campaign interns posing as” everyday New Yorkers,” stating their support for his candidacy in his televised ads. These ridiculous illusory tactics might be the exclamation point on what looks to be the end of Weiner-mania.
Tags: Anthony Weiner, Bill De Blasio, Candidate Stickball Challenge, Chirlaine de Blasio, City & State, Dante de Blasio, David Flaum, Donald Trump, Eric Schneiderman, gale-brewer, Nelson Castro, Ray Kelly, reshma-saujani, RoAnn Destito, Ruben Diaz Jr., Tom DiNapoli