Joe Lhota On de Blasio: “Where Is He?”

The Republican candidate for mayor of New York City accuses the frontrunner of a Rose Garden campaign. “This is reminding me of Where’s Waldo?

John Moore / Getty Images

Joe Lhota wants to see more of Bill de Blasio.

The Republican nominee in the New York mayoral race accused his opponent Tuesday afternoon of riding out the last five weeks of the general election — and maintaining high poll numbers — by keeping his campaign schedule light and his name out of headlines.

During this summer’s crowded, competitive Democratic primary, de Blasio would pack his daily schedules with meet-and-greets, speeches, forums, and press conferences from early morning to late at night. But since besting his primary rivals last month, and avoiding a run-off election with just over 40% of the vote, de Blasio has embraced a more limited day-to-day routine. Some days his campaign schedules no public events at all.

“This is reminding me of Where’s Waldo?” Lhota said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “Where is he!”

“I understand the strategy — it’s a Rose Garden strategy,” Lhota said. “Sometimes it works, most times it doesn’t. He’s husbanding his lead in the polls. I’m not sure I agree with the polls as much as he agrees with them, but I understand what he’s doing.”

De Blasio maintains a considerable lead in the polls — the latest, from Quinnipiac, shows him ahead of Lhota by 41 points ahead of Election Day next month.

“They don’t want to go out, because if you go out, you can make a mistake. I get that, but he does have to debate me,” Lhota said, citing his three upcoming debates against de Blasio. Lhota initially requested there be five, one in each borough, but de Blasio agreed to three — one more than the two required. (All three will take place in Manhattan.)

“Quite honestly, there are issues in all the boroughs, in addition to citywide issues that need to be talked about. Each of our boroughs has its own distinct issues and distinct personalities,” Lhota said. “That too needs to come out of the debates. Where do I stand on issues, and where does he stand on issues. The people deserve to hear it.”

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