The latest ad released Wednesday by Republican New York City mayoral candidate Joe Lhota predicts a major crime wave would engulf the city if the frontrunner, Democrat Bill de Blasio, wins the election next month.
Lhota’s ad, which is entitled “Can’t Go Back,” accused de Blasio of voting to “take over 5,000 cops off our streets.” The ad also uses footage from the recent viral video showing bikers attacking a Manhattan motorist to argue de Blasio would have a soft response to “violent biker gangs.”
To bring the point home, the ad closes with a series of vintage photos showing crime in New York while a narrator declares, “Bill de Blasio’s recklessly dangerous agenda on crime will take us back to this.”
“Don’t let Bill de Blasio take New York backwards,” the narrator says as a biker is shown smashing the window of a car with his helmet.
The Lhota campaign said the ad will air on broadcast TV stations citywide. It did not disclose how much money would be spent on it.
In a statement on the ad’s release, Lhota’s spokeswoman Jessica Proud explained in further detail why they believe a de Blasio administration would turn New York into a post-apocalyptic wasteland overrun with marauding bikers.
“Whether it is attacking Ray Kelly and the NYPD or saying his plans for dealing with violent criminals is to sit down with them and talk, Bill de Blasio’s weak stance on crime will take us back to days New Yorkers don’t want to ever experience again,” Proud said. “He has no concept of proactive policing and how critical the NYPD’s policies have been to reducing crime to record lows. His plans handcuff and demoralize our law enforcement will jeopardize New Yorker’s safety. We can’t allow him to take us backwards.”
De Blasio has led Lhota in recent polls by about 50 points.
A spokesperson for de Blasio’s campaign, Dan Levitan, called the ad “misleading” and pointed to a news article that he said “debunks Lhota’s attack” that de Blasio would be soft on criminal bikers. Levitan accused Lhota, a former deputy mayor in Rudy Giuliani’s administration, of using “fear tactics” to “divide” New Yorkers.
“Once again Joe Lhota is taking a page out of the Tea Party Republican play book, using a divisive, misleading attack that has already been proven false,” Levitan said. “Lhota is right that we can’t go back: we shouldn’t return to the days when Republicans like Giuliani used fear tactics to divide New Yorkers against each other.”
Watch Lhota’s ad below.