- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2001

NEW YORK — Voters in tomorrow's Democratic and Republican primaries will encounter a crowded field of candidates for mayor, all of whom have defined themselves by their vision of a city no longer run by Rudolph W. Giuliani.
The success of the outgoing mayor in transforming a city once beset by high crime is the measuring stick the would-be mayors — liberal and conservative — are using to calibrate their appeal to voters. Virtually all the candidates seek to preserve the essence of the Giuliani legacy, even if they never liked his style.
In the past few days, appeals to black voters have fired up the Democratic campaigns, largely because of the perceived influence of the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has formed a coalition with Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer. Mr. Ferrer, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Groucho Marx, also has the support of Mr. Giuliani's former police commissioner, William Bratton, who played a key role in slashing the city's crime rate.
Mr. Ferrer repeatedly calls for "community policing" — generally understood to mean more police walking the beat in minority neighborhoods — and an end to reputed racial profiling. Mr. Sharpton, he said on the stump, will have access to City Hall and will "come in through the front door." The Bronx official is backed by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, although it is not clear whether the former senator will make a public appearance.
Three polls released late last week indicate a statistical dead heat between Mr. Ferrer, who, if he wins, would become the city's first Puerto Rican mayor, and former Nader Raider and Public Advocate Mark Green, until recently considered the likely winner.
In a NY1/Daily News poll, Mr. Green registered 27 percent and Mr. Ferrer 26 percent. A Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters also showed Mr. Ferrer in a duel with Mr. Green, 28 percent to 26 percent. A Marist Institute for Public Opinion poll of registered voters showed Mr. Ferrer ahead of Mr. Green, 30 percent to 29 percent. The two other major Democratic hopefuls, City Council President Peter F. Vallone and City Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi, registered 14 percent and 11 percent respectively, with 16 percent undecided.
Mr. Hevesi, an experienced public official once considered the front-runner, has been tarnished by charges of corruption from Mr. Giuliani, who described him as "ethically challenged." The Manhattan district attorney cleared the comptroller of bribery accusations late last week, but he has all but been counted out.
Primary candidates must receive 40 percent of the vote to win the Democratic or Republican nominations. If no one emerges the winner, a runoff election between the top two vote-getters will take place Sept. 25.
Mr. Giuliani has endorsed no candidate of either party, but he has spoken warmly of Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire media baron who is the likely victor in the GOP race over Herman Badillo, a veteran city politico and former adviser to the mayor.
Mr. Bloomberg, who switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican last year, is expected to spend more than $30 million on the race.
Potentially damaging to Mr. Bloomberg is a New York Post report of remarks he reportedly made disparaging Jews, women, blacks and homosexuals. The quotes attributed to the tycoon appear in a booklet he received from employees on his birthday in 1990.


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