It has been a long, tumultuous democratic primary in New York City. Candidates have leapfrogged each other in the polls so many times it’s hard to keep track who’s in first place these days. We’re here to help.
Here are your mayoral race power rankings, based on candidates’ performances in Wednesday night’s debate, as we trudge toward primary day.
1. Christine Quinn
Quinn had clear command of the room from the start, welcomed by a thunderous round of applause so long and loud it drowned out introductions for John Liu, Sal Albanese, and Anthony Weiner. She gave long answers too, scoffing in the face of the little red light that blinks to tell candidates they are over time, and no one–not the moderator, the panelists, or the other candidates–dared to call her on it. The speaker also demonstrated an adroit skill for playing the other candidates off of each other–tag-teaming Bill de Blasio with Bill Thompson, then teaming up with de Blasio against Weiner when Weiner tried to implicate the public advocate in Quinn’s slush fund scandal–and managing, all the while, to appear somehow above the fray. The sense that Quinn controlled the debate was compounded by the fact the Daily News announced its endorsement of the Speaker immediately after the debate.
2. Bill de Blasio
De Blasio towered head and shoulders above the competition in this debate. Literally, if not figuratively–the guy’s 6-foot-5, about a foot taller than anyone else on stage. Whether it was his height–making dwarves of all of them–or his impressive showing the polls the last few weeks, it was clear that the other candidates had pegged de Blasio as the man to beat. When they were given the chance to ask questions of one another, almost every candidate seized the opportunity to poke de Blasio–including Quinn, who used her question to ask Thompson if he was “satisfied” with the answer de Blasio had just given him, giving Thompson another chance to beat up on de Blasio while she kept her hands clean. De Blasio took the other candidates’ fire, though, and he didn’t cede any ground.
3. Errol Louis
The moderator didn’t hesitate to put the mayoral hopefuls in their places when they talked out of turn. He issued stern warnings to Erick Salgado, Liu, and the audience itself–earning the ardent affection of at least one woman online.
4. The Audience
First it was the applause for Quinn, then heckling so loud it momentarily drowned out a question from NY1’s Grace Rauh, and then cheering so loud that Louis had to reprimand them–the live audience really threw its weight around on Wednesday night. Bonus point awarded to the guy in the back who yelled out “DANJA!” when Anthony Weiner copped to texting while driving.
5. Bill Thompson
Thompson came out guns blazing, demanding de Blasio remove an advertisement portraying himself as the only anti-stop-and-frisk candidate and demanding he “stop lying to the people of New York.” He hammered a proposal of de Blasio’s as “a tax in search of an idea.” He also revealed himself as the city’s unlikeliest Eminem fan when he asked, “Will the real Bill de Blasio please stand up?” (… please stand up, please stand up.)
6. John Liu
The comptroller’s shining moment came when he delivered his closing remarks in both English and Spanish, showing shades of El Bloomblito.
The parody Twitter account responded in kind.
7. Anthony Weiner
Weiner had lots of serious ideas he wanted to discuss at Wednesday’s debate–instituting a single-payer healthcare system, protecting the middle class, and … other stuff too. But, as it became painfully apparent to the erstwhile frontrunner, no one wanted to hear about his ideas. Audience members couldn’t even keep a straight face when Weiner, asked a question about hurricane preparedness, said New York wasn’t ready for “a stiff wind.” There were even louder laughs when, during a lightening Q&A round, he copped to texting while driving–tee hee hee, oh, yes, we know how much you enjoy the text messaging–and again when he was the only candidate to say the city did not need more surveillance cameras.
Weiner did briefly win the audience over with his assertion that New Yorkers should not only be allowed to enjoy a beer on their own stoop–they should be allowed to enjoy their beers in public parks and on beaches, too. That answer played well on Twitter.
8. Erick Salgado
Even Salgado admitted on Wednesday night that he had no shot at winning the election–he was really only in the race to influence the other the candidates. He was a winner in the audience’s heart though, with some of the most memorable quotes of the evening.
On undocumented immigrants: “I believe slavery has not been abolished. Slavery has been transferred to my people.”
What would he do if New York was hit by a natural disaster? “Pray.”
When he was veering off-topic and panelist David Chen tried to go to another candidate, “Why? I may have an accent but I can talk.”
Would he move into Gracie Mansion? Yes: “Me, my wife, and my six children!”
And, apropos of nothing: “I got stopped by the police this evening.”
9. Sal Albanese
Things are really bad when your most memorable moment of the evening is blurting out “So, do I get to talk at all?”