NEW YORK — The topsy-turvy Democratic campaign for mayor of New York took another twist on Tuesday as a new poll found that Public Advocate Bill de Blasio had surged to the lead for the first time.
De Blasio was an afterthought for many months of the campaign but has seen his support double among likely Democratic voters in less than a month, according to a survey released by Quinnipiac University on Tuesday. He now clocks in at 30 percent, moving past former front-runner Christine Quinn.
Quinn, the City Council speaker, is at 24 percent, followed by former comptroller Bill Thompson at 22 percent, former US representative Anthony Weiner at 10 percent, and Comptroller John Liu at 6 percent.
De Blasio, the most liberal member of the Democratic field and a vocal critic of independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was polling at 15 percent in Quinnipiac’s survey on July 24. But in the last three weeks he released his first television ad, put his multiracial family at the center of his campaign, and received largely favorable media coverage for his fight to save an endangered Brooklyn hospital.
De Blasio also has benefited from the collapse of Weiner’s candidacy following the former congressman’s latest sexting scandal. Weiner was at 26 percent in that July 24 poll, which was taken just days after he revealed that he had continued to trade illicit online messages with women after resigning from Congress due to similar behavior.
N.J. picks candidates to vie for late senator’s seat
TRENTON, N.J. — A rising star in the Democratic Party and a Republican former mayor won their parties’ primaries on Tuesday to set up a campaign of political and stylistic contrasts as they seek to fill the final 15 months of the term of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg.
Mayor Cory Booker of Newark defeated three experienced politicians — US representatives Rush Holt and Frank Pallone and state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver — in a Democratic primary that may have been more competitive had the field been less crowded. The race was a major draw for them partly because of New Jersey’s history of electing only Democrats to the Senate over the past 40 years. In the Republican primary, Steve Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota, won handily over Franklin Township physician Alieta Eck, who had never run for office before, even though she received support of some Tea Party organizations.
The election is on a compressed schedule. The day after Lautenberg’s death in June, Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, scheduled the primaries for Tuesday and a special election for Oct. 16, 20 days before the voting day on which he is seeking reelection. The move drew criticism, with some saying Christie was spending $12 million on an extra election so he could avoid being on the same ballot as Booker, an assertion Christie denies.
Booker is famous in the political world for his life story and his social media fanaticism: He has 1.4 million followers on Twitter, which he uses to field complaints about local issues such as sinkholes and to dispense inspirational quotes.
Lonegan, who stepped down from his job as state director of the antitax group Americans for Prosperity, focused his campaign on blasting Booker. He held a news conference to ridicule Booker’s childhood poverty plan and another at the scene of a homicide in Newark to question whether Booker has done much to reduce crime. He has also been to the New York headquarters of Waywire, a technology startup Booker cofounded, to criticize his role in it.
N.C. lawmaker gets an earful from conservative voters
LINCOLNTON, N.C. — Patrick McHenry’s loudest constituents have no desire to see conciliation on gridlocked Capitol Hill, unless it comes from President Obama and his fellow Democrats.
As the Republican congressman holds public question-and-answer sessions with constituents during Congress’s summer break, conservatives and GOP loyalists who enjoy significant influence in his western North Carolina district are demanding that he and his House colleagues defund ‘‘Obamacare,’’ refuse to raise the nation’s debt limit, and generally intensify opposition to the White House and Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
Congress has abysmal approval ratings, and polls suggest that most voters want the divided government to seek out compromise. Yet the no-holds-barred attitude on display here — and elsewhere as other House Republicans hold town-hall style gatherings — offers an ominous forecast of the legislative battles ahead this fall and underscores how little political incentive many Republicans have to reach common ground on issues ranging from immigration to the budget.