New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is intent on focusing his upcoming reelection bid on his opponents’ support for President Donald Trump rather than the plethora of local “quality of life” issues that his opponent wants to discuss.
De Blasio’s 2017 Republican challenger, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, has tried to focus her messaging on proposed improvements to the city’s education, social services and transportation systems but has been constantly met with attempts to refocus the narrative on her vote for Trump.
“It’s a difficult time to be a Republican in New York City,” Malliotakis told The Wall Street Journal in a phone interview recently. “This election is not about Donald Trump. It’s about traffic, trash, all the quality of life issues that have deteriorated.”
Malliotakis has vowed to reduce burdensome regulations on small businesses, expand school choice and take a more active part in fixing the city’s ailing subway system.
De Blasio remains focused on tying his opponent to Trump, referring to her as a “pro-Trump Republican.” He has has gone to great lengths to establish himself within the “resistance” effort, often tweeting multiple times a day to restate his support for illegal immigrants. He even appeared at a protest rally in Hamburg, Germany, during the G-20 summit.
“We will have, in the next eight weeks, a strong contrast between a progressive Democrat and a pro-Trump Republican,” de Blasio told reporters Wednesday at his campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters.
Malliotakis, who initially supported GOP Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the primary but later voted Trump, explicitly charged de Blasio with trying to obscure the substantive campaign issues, following a press conference Friday.
“The mayor has a lousy record, [so] of course he’s going to try to tie me to [a] guy who has a [poor] approval rating,” she told reporters.
While de Blasio has a natural advantage running as a Democrat in the overwhelmingly blue city, his approval rating is hovering around 50 precent following a summer in which New Yorkers were plagued by debilitating Subway delays.
De Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a plan to pay for upgrades to the city’s ailing transit system by taxing the wealthiest 1 percent of residents. The plan would raise the tax rate from 3.9 percent to 4.4 percent for individuals making more than $500,000 annually and couples making more than $1 million.
The embattled mayor conceded his plan would faced significant opposition in New York’s Republican-led state Senate during a debate in early September, but he maintained that it was the most viable approach to solving the city’s transportation issues.
Mayor de Blasio’s office did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment in time for publication.
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