But Mr. de Blasio has stunned the more moderate Democratic candidates the past few weeks with his relentless critique of the Bloomberg administration, as well as his dogged liberal message of income inequality in the shadow of Wall Street wealth. He also was very effective showcasing his interracial family – including his teenage son, Dante, whose Afro-style hair and descriptions of his father in campaign commercials have become some of the most memorable of the race.
With the support of 43 percent of likely Democratic voters, he could win the primary without a runoff, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.
Yet these same traits, so appealing to a growing segment of city Democrats, could be used against him come November.
“Republicans will be looking to really frame this election as continuing the course, going forward with the progress we’ve made as a city under [former Mayor Rudolph] Giuliani and Bloomberg," says David Johnson, a senior Republican consultant and CEO of Strategic Vision, an Atlanta-based political consulting agency. "And they see [de Blasio’s rise] as a chance to really frame it this way.”
It’s an argument that Republicans would have much more difficulty launching against the other top Democrats, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, or former Comptroller Bill Thompson, both of whom who have run careful, centrist campaigns – at least by New York City standards.