NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The New York Times on Saturday endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota as the Democratic and Republican choices, respectively, to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In a lengthy editorial, the newspaper called Quinn "the best in the group."
"Ms. Quinn, the City Council speaker, offers the judgment and record of achievement anyone should want in a mayor," the newspaper editorial board said, adding that while rivals Bill de Blasio and Bill Thompson both have "powerful arguments" in favor of their records, "Ms. Quinn inspires the most confidence that she would be the right mayor for the inevitable times when hope and idealism collide with the challenge of getting something done."
New York Times Backs Quinn, Lhota For Mayoral Primaries
The newspaper went on to call Quinn an "impressive leader" since her beginnings as a neighborhood advocate, and pointed out that it had first endorsed her for City Council in 1999 as a candidate who can "who can both work within the system and criticize it when necessary." The paper said Quinn has lived up to that judgment, passing laws improving everything from health and safety to campaign finance regulations.
The paper also called her a "forceful counterpart" to Mayor Bloomberg.
In acknowledging other candidates, the Times called de Blasio "the most forceful and eloquent of the Democrats" in arguing on behalf of the poor and the middle class. But the paper said the de Blasio would likely end up seeing his ambitious plans "smashed on the rocks of Albany."
And while Thompson has called himself the best candidate to improve the city's schools, the paper criticized him for his association with the United Federation of Teachers, which it said was "not always a friend of needed reforms."
The Times did not mention Democratic candidates John Liu, Sal Albanese or Erick Salgado in its editorial, and dismissed Anthony Weiner as "unqualified."
Meanwhile, the Times championed Lhota as "not a glad-handing pol, but a practical and efficient one." While he first gained notoriety as deputy mayor under Rudolph Giuliani, Lhota is "more than the sum of his years as Mr. Giuliani's top deputy, and he is the best qualified of the three men seeking the Republican nomination for mayor," the paper said.
The Times said Lhota was also an "expert budget director" under Lhota, and ensured that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority recovered following Superstorm Sandy.
The paper said fellow Republican candidate and billionaire grocer John Catsimatidis is an "affable man," but said he cannot prove he can make the city cleaner and better-run "until he shows he can do that at Gristedes," the grocery store chain where he serves as president and chief executive officer.
And the Times said George McDonald, founder of The Doe Fund, has had a career that does not "remotely" qualify him for running the city. The paper also criticized him for his remark slamming Weiner as a "self-pleasuring freak."
Quinn spokesman Mike Morey issued a statement thanking the Times for its endorsement Saturday.
"We are honored to have the endorsement of the New York Times," the statement said in part. "The endorsement makes clear that Christine Quinn hasn't just talked about being a progressive, she has a long record of fighting for New York's progressive values and she has delivered results every step of the way."
The Lhota campaign had not released a statement on Saturday night, but did acknowledge the endorsement in multiple tweets.
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