Curiel Speaks

The race for Manhattan Borough President has been shaping up for months about like this: there’s an insider, Scott Stringer, who locks up the labor and political club endorsements, facing an outsider, Eva Moskowitz, the choice of the editorial boards and such. They divide up the support of white voters on the East and West sides, while other candidates, notably Bill Perkins and Margarita Lopez, look to slip past them with combinations of ethnic and ideological support.

But this theory depended on the single most important event in the race, the Times endorsement, going Eva’s way. And Sunday’s City Section has rearranged the odds: with a vigorous endorsement from the Times, Stringer is now both insider and outsider. The endorsement included a strange slap at Eva — “abrasive,” as though New York politics were currently suffering from a surplus of vigorous debate.

The dozen or so candidates will all be gunning for Stringer now, but they’ve got a tough job. This race is the classic case of New York Times power: it’s too small a job for ordinary people to pay much attention, but too big an electorate for a candidate to win based on energy, shaken hands, and a personal network alone.