‘José Lhota’ Says Extremists Have Taken Over Republican Party

Joe Lhota speaking to reporters in Central Park.

Joe Lhota speaking to reporters in Central Park.

Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota doubled down on his efforts to distance himself from his party-mates in Washington and the federal government shutdown this morning–and took on a new nickname as well.

“A small number of extremists have been able to take over the party,” Mr. Lhota fumed during a radio interview on WADO Univision Radio, echoing comments he made yesterday denouncing the Tea Party’s actions after his Democratic opponent, Bill de Blasio, tried to tie him to the gridlock in Washington.

“Shutting down the government is completely unacceptable,” he said.

Mr. Lhota and Mr. de Blasio have been waging increasingly negative campaigns, with each man hitting the other over their early political influences, including Mr. de Blasio’s support for the Sandinistas, and Mr. Lhota’s adoration of Barry Goldwater.

After discussing rising crime, small business fines and and bus lanes, Mr. Lhota was asked by the host why his listeners should vote for “José Lhota.”

“Here’s why: José Lhota will make sure that we continue to grow jobs in New York,” he said, embracing the Spanish version of his name.”I want José’s child to get the best possible education in the City of New York.”

As for his dismal poll numbers, the former deputy mayor and MTA chair noted that Christine Quinn and Anthony Weiner had once led the polls in the Democratic primary.

“It’s not all over at all,” he vowed.