Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota Monday crisscrossed the city in their final day of campaigning before Tuesday's election, vowing to summon a slew of supporters to get the vote out in their quest to become the city's 109th mayor.
Despite a wide lead in the polls, Democrat de Blasio said he would continue to stump as if he were "neck and neck" with his Republican opponent.
"There's a volunteer army amassing. . . . The energy and the resolve of our troops is intense, and people are owning this campaign," de Blasio said after speaking at the Bay Eden Senior Center in the Bronx. "It's very personal for the people involved."
His campaign is planning to set up 40 staging locations Tuesday citywide, spokesman Dan Levitan said.
Lhota made his final push on the Upper East Side and Harlem, where he described his volunteers as "Marine Corps" to de Blasio's army.
"They're rapid response, you send them where you need them," Lhota said, adding that he will have volunteers throughout the city and at phone banks.
Monday night, Lhota was joined by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at lower Manhattan's Pier 11 and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, where commuters clamored to have their photo taken with Giuliani. The ex-mayor said he expected Lhota to "win tomorrow, but if he doesn't, the consolation prize is he's a young man and he's a great talent. . . . He should run in four more years."
Lhota, who was a deputy mayor and budget director in the Giuliani administration, said he remained "optimistic." He has said he has little faith in polls and New Yorkers will "be surprised" by the outcome.
De Blasio, the public advocate, was joined in the Bronx by Democratic nominee for public advocate Letitia James and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., among others.
"We need Bill de Blasio to have a mandate," Diaz said. "We have to make sure his numbers are so high that no one can ever question his message."
De Blasio campaigned on a progressive "tale of two cities" platform and a break from Bloomberg administration policies that he contends have widened the gap between rich and poor. He has vowed to tax the rich to fund universal prekindergarten and to curb the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk tactic, which he says is racially discriminatory.
In a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 6-1, Lhota has worked to distance himself from national Republicans and from Bloomberg. He opposes raising taxes, asserting that doing so would kill jobs, and said he would essentially maintain the status quo on stop and frisk as essential to crime control.
With Matthew Chayes