Republican mayoral candidate/self-proclaimed kitten slayer Joe Lhota hasn't been having much luck with his campaign thus far, between the dismal poll numbers, alleged photo-stealing and divisive, scaremongering TV ads. And it seems the GOP is starting to get pretty freaked out about him, which, considering their present political track record, isn't so surprising.
Republican strategist Ed Rollins told the Daily News that Lhota's campaign has been "a painful campaign to watch," and other GOP members who are close to the campaign have called it out for repeatedly missing the ball. They say Lhota and his team aren't easily reachable—he took two months to hit up Williamsburg's Hasidic community, for instance—he releases his policies too late and without a big media bang, and he even canceled on a Municipal Art Society appearance at the last minute. "You just can't do that. You have to show up," Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster, said.
Then of course, there's an issue with the campaign's combative nature. Republicans say Lhota's been focusing too much on attacking opponent Bill de Blasio, and not enough time shopping around his policies and talking about the issues that matter. Wonder where he learned that from?
But politicos say his much-talked about crime ad, which tried to terrify New Yorkers into believing a de Blasio mayorship meant a return to the Bad Old Days, was a surefire sign that the candidate wasn't sure where his campaign was going. "I don't think Joe Lhota has really talked about who he is, what his vision is other than not going back to the 70s," Michael Benjamin, a former Democratic state Assemblyman, told NY1. "He is not a practiced politician."
Lhota's supporters say he's already at a serious disadvantage in a Dem-heavy city. But even GOPers think the problem lies deeper than that. "There's no enthusiasm building up among Republicans or others that there's an alternative to de Blasio," Rollins said. "I think that's the death knell."
Ah, well. Perhaps Lhota can tap into his buddy Giuliani's famed mantra: If at first you don't succeed, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11.