New York City mayoral candidate Joe Lhota (R) appeared to do everything he could Tuesday to distance himself from the overall GOP.
Squaring off in the first televised debate against Democratic challenger Bill de Blasio, Lhota went on the defensive about being portrayed as a "national Republican." He claimed that his policies represent "long and hard" differences, from his pro-choice stance on abortion, to his support of gay marriage.
"Do not lump me with the national Republicans," Lhota said on WABC-TV, while pointing at de Blasio. "It’s unbecoming.”
Lhota's comments arrived as the federal government shutdown stretched into its third week, and polls continued to show the Republican Party's favorability rating on the decline. HuffPost Pollster's latest collection of 35 publicly available surveys has 55.4 percent viewing the GOP in an unfavorable light. That number has been on a steady decline since January 2012, when only 43.8 percent of folks held that negative view.
As for the race Lhota has to worry about, HuffPost Pollster's compilation of nine publicly available surveys has de Blasio holding a commanding 68 to 22 percent lead. The candidates will hold two more Tuesday debates (Oct. 22 and Oct. 29), before voters head out on Nov. 5 to the polls.