“Thank you for joining me today in front of this famous statue of Theodore Roosevelt, one of New York’s great political leaders. I’m proud to announce that I’m running a fusion candidacy for mayor in 2013,” Manhattan Media C.E.O. Tom Allon proclaimed in front of a small gathering of reporters in the Upper West Side this morning. “I’m now a registered Republican and I will be the Republican and Liberal Party nominee in 2013.”
Mr. Allon, who was previously running as a Democrat continued by vowing to run “a fusion campaign that would make Theodore Roosevelt proud.”
“We need a leader who will lead rather than pander, who will not put forward these counterproductive ideas like raising taxes on the wealthy,” Mr. Allon said. “I’m here today to ensure New Yorkers that they will have a real choice in 2013.”
Mr. Allon’s proclamation didn’t exactly come as a surprise. It was widely speculated about yesterday, when he sent out a mysterious press release announcing an announcement, and he was publicly flirting with the idea for months before that. During this time, he repeatedly announced conservative positions on issues of the day, including the stop-and-frisk police tactic and tax policy.
However, prior to his party switch, Mr. Allon seemed to be firmly entrenched on the left. He visited the Occupy Wall Street protests, spent a night in Zuccotti Park and penned an op-ed declaring his support for the movement, for example. “That was simply being a good reporter, which I’d like to see more of in this city,” Mr. Allon told us this morning when we asked him to explain the possible ideological discrepancy.
Despite his campaign’s bold promise to shake up the race, it’s unclear what the actual significance of Mr. Allon’s presence in the Republican Party will be. In polls of the Democratic side, Mr. Allon barely registered as a blip. Though revamping himself as a Republican should allow him to face a far less crowded primary field, it’s unlikely he is any better known among the city’s GOP electorate. Nevertheless, along with DOE Fund founder George McDonald, Mr. Allon seems to have ensured that there will actually be a Republican primary next year.
In spite of the eagerness of candidates like Mr. Allon and Mr. McDonald, GOP county leaders will still probably prefer another person who has been floated as a potential Republican mayoral candidate, businessman John Catsimatidis. Mr. Catsimatidis, a supermarket magnate, has plowed Republican committees with a healthy amount of campaign cash over the years. Interestingly, Mr. Allon’s campaign provided a statement from Mr. Catsimatidis praising his party switch, but not outright endorsing the bid.
“I welcome Tom into the Republican Party and look forward to working with him as we prepare for next year’s city elections,” Mr. Catsimatidis said. “I have known Tom for two decades and he is smart, principled and has creative ideas that can help our city economically and improve our education system.”
Though they have known each other for such a long time, Mr. Allon told Politicker he wouldn’t hesitate to run against Mr. Catsimatidis if he enters the race too.
“I’m going to primary anybody who comes up,” he said.