Freddy campaigns in P.R. and L.A.
New York’s 309 square miles, it seems, just aren’t enough for Fernando Ferrer’s mayoral candidacy. On the heels of his trip to Puerto Rico, the former Bronx borough president is in Los Angeles today for the swearing-in of Antonio Villaraigosa, the City of Angels’ first Latino mayor in more than a century. The jet-setting looks like an effort by Ferrer—who leads his Democratic rivals in the polls but trails the mayor—to shore up his Latino base and to attach the same historical significance to his candidacy that Villaraigosa’s enjoyed.
But while he was an ethnic pioneer, Villaraigosa made history by assembling a coalition far broader than Latinos. Ferrer is aiming to do the same, and polls indicate he is having some success at holding together the black-Latino partnership that propelled him to near-victory four years ago. In the latest Quinnipiac Poll, he is the only Democrat who beats Michael Bloomberg head-to-head among both Latinos (51-40 percent) and blacks (47-40 percent). Like all his intraparty rivals, though, he trails badly among whites: When pitted against Bloomberg, none of the Dems take more than 30 percent of Caucasians.
Ferrer has recovered, it seems, from the Diallo remark. But while the trouble back in March was that Freddy was making too much bad news, his problem now might be that he’s not making much news at all. Gifford Miller’s been in the papers a lot recently over the trash vote, the budget, and his punishment of councilmembers who defied him—not all great publicity, but publicity all the same. Virginia Fields made headlines when she lashed out at Bloomberg over the baseball bat attack in Howard Beach.
Ferrer, meanwhile, can’t catch a break. A month ago his campaign presented the press with serious allegations about a new school built on an old industrial site in the Soundview section of the Bronx, where there were concerns about air quality. It got some minor play in the Times and the Daily News. But when the News did a smash-bang, four-story expose on the site and the deals behind it, Ferrer wasn’t mentioned. Perhaps the Los Angeles media will be kinder.