2013-09-06 / Front Page

Absentee Candidates

We’re Forgotten Already
By Kevin Boyle

Bill de Blasio has found himself at the top of recent polls. But it looks like he needs help finding Rockaway. A candidate tracking website shows the current frontrunner in the Democratic mayoral primary race is dead last when it comes to visiting Rockaway.

Voters will have their say about how much personal visits matter when they go to the election booths on Primary Day, Tuesday, September 10th. Until then, voters will find themselves in a blizzard of phone calls, flyers in the mail, and TV and radio ads though many prefer the personal touch. Some voters want to shake hands, look candidates in the eye, and ask them direct questions. And it appears that some candidates seem to appreciate meeting voters more than others as they have made public appearances a main campaign strategy.

If you prefer the personal touch– that is, you like your candidates to show up in the flesh, the New York Times has produced a webpage with a city map indicating where and when candidates for mayor actually appeared on the campaign trail. The chart lists public visits. It does not, for instance, reflect visits to The Wave which some candidates made, and we count as a Rockaway visit.

So, which candidates have shown attention to Rockaway?

Sal Albanese has been the most frequent visitor, covering the entire peninsula with stops in Breezy Point, Far Rockaway, and Broad Channel and neighborhoods in between. He’s been here a dozen times. He’s taken the ferry, twice visited The Wave, and shown regular commitment to Rockaway from one end of the peninsula to the other.

As for other democrats, the Rockaway scorecard is as follows (using The Times map and including visits to The Wave): John Liu has visited nine times; Anthony Weiner has visited Rockaway eight times. William Thompson has been here four times; Christine Quinn three times. Bill de Blasio has visited just two times. Generally, the candidates spread out their appearances with the exception of de Blasio who, on his two visits, never ventured west of Beach 20th Street.

On the republican side, Joe Lhota was a regular visitor chalking up nine visits covering west to east with stops in Breezy Point, Broad Channel, and Far Rockaway. John Catsimatidis made three visits. George McDonald made it only to Broad Channel in February.

The Wave was swayed by the personal attention. (See editorial, Page 4).

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