The Ad Campaign: In Ad, Malliotakis Takes Swing at de Blasio Over Subway Woes

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In her “Subway Nightmare” ad, Nicole Malliotakis, the Republican candidate for mayor in New York, appeals to frustrated commuters regardless of their party.

The Republican candidate for mayor in New York, Nicole Malliotakis, an assemblywoman from Staten Island, is struggling to get the attention of voters in a heavily Democratic city, with a little more than five weeks before the Nov. 7 election. Ms. Malliotakis just received a payment of $1.5 million in public matching funds from the Campaign Finance Board, giving her campaign a needed boost and making a large advertising purchase possible.

With this ad, called “Subway Nightmare,” she appeals to New Yorkers’ frustration with deteriorating subway service, an issue that may resonate with voters regardless of party — even though Mayor Bill de Blasio does not control the transit system.

Subway Nightmare – New Yorkers Deserve Better Video by Nicole Malliotakis

PRODUCER BrabenderCox

THE SCRIPT Ms. Malliotakis says: “What’s it like riding the subway under Bill de Blasio? A lot like this. A nightmare. Three quarters of subway lines are now plagued by delays. That’s over 70,000 delays a month. People are packed in like sardines. And subway sex crimes are up over 50 percent. While we deal with this, Bill de Blasio is being chauffeured to his gym miles away. New Yorkers deserve better and I’m going to fight everyday to make sure they get it.”

ON SCREEN The ad shows an elevated subway train rattling by at night, with the Manhattan skyline, including the Empire State Building, in the background. It cuts to Ms. Malliotakis standing inside an empty subway car, speaking to the camera. The lights go out and the screen stays dark briefly until she flicks on a cigarette lighter that partly illuminates her face in close-up. Images follow of crowded platforms surrounded by darkness, and jammed subway cars. A steady drumbeat plays in the background.

Next up is a still image of a scowling Mr. de Blasio superimposed on video of a black sport utility vehicle, like the one the mayor uses, crossing a bridge. We see Ms. Malliotakis inside the subway car again, and then the ad closes with a shot of a subway train seen from outside, this time against the backdrop of a golden sky at either sunrise or sunset. It is an N train.

ACCURACY It is true that subway service has deteriorated, with increases in delays and crowding that have been widely characterized as symptoms of a crisis. However, the subways are operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, whose chairman is appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has great influence within the authority. The mayor appoints four members on a board with a total of 14 votes.

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