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Lhota's Hail Mary

Polls have shown Republican Joseph Lhota trailing by upwards of 50 points in the race for New York City mayor, and now he's out with a provocative ad, trying to paint Democratic front runner Bill de Blasio as weak-on-crime.

But the ad is not your run-of-the-mill, question-raising scare tactic; it shows the graphic images of the New York biker gang smashing the window of an SUV and hearkens back to a time when crime was high in New York using images of the bygone era.

What's this all about? De Blasio has spoken out against "stop and frisk," something that has some city residents worried will lead to an uptick in crime. It also reminds some, especially in the outer boroughs, of the 1990s Dinkins era, when crime was much higher. Republican Rudy Giuliani is largely credited with cleaning up the city, even if his hard-line tactics infuriated minority communities.

Remember, New York hasn't had a Democratic mayor in 20 years, and that's because of crime. It's the one potential opening for Lhota with New Yorkers, who are principally concerned with crime and then economics, and much less so -- social politics, especially when New York Republicans look and sound very different from national ones.

But, being down as much as Lhota is, this ad is unlikely to make much difference.