With the $85 billion in automatic so-called “sequester” budget cuts set to take affect tomorrow, the National Republican Congressional Committee has released a series of press releases blaming the situation on President Barack Obama’s fondness for “martian menus” and “robotic squirrels.” According to the NRCC, President Obama and House Democrats are more interested in funding wasteful programs and “scaring American families” than protecting the country from the impending, drastic cuts, so they highlighted a series of initiatives, including plans to develop food for astronauts and funding for a “Robosquirrel” used to research rattlesnake behavior. Several versions of the NRCC statement were released pairing President Barack Obama with different Democratic members of Congress.
“Most Americans will never get to order off the ‘Mars Menu’ that their taxpayer dollars are funding, but instead of cutting wasteful programs like that one, President Obama and Jim Himes are allowing cuts to important programs and services,” NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek said in the statement targeting Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes. “Rather than trying to scare Americans, Obama and Himes should agree to responsible cuts to wasteful Washington spending.”
Rock You Like a Hurricane
Congressman Pete King was not pleased with his fellow Republicans who opposed the federal Hurricane Sandy relief package. Accordingly, Mr. King told us he was shocked to learn that Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who’s widely seen as a potential 2016 presidential contender, has been raising cash on Wall Street after voting against the Sandy bill.
“Being from New York we’re not supposed to be suckers,” Mr. King told Politicker this morning. “It’s bad enough that these guys voted against it, that’s inexcusable enough. But to have the balls to come in and say, ‘We screwed you now make us president?’”
Optimistic Headline of the Day: “Getting Screwed by DC May Pay Off for NY if Sequester Goes Through.”
Former State Senator David Storobin, who is still “considering” a City Council campaign, fired off a shot at one of the Democratic candidates, Ari Kagan, yesterday. “I’m glad Ari Kagan is now adopting my whole economic platform because he thinks it will help him win this election,” he told Politicker. “It is no wonder he always wrote about me so positively for years until his boss [media mogul] Gregory Davidzon was paid by Lew Fidler and told Ari to attack me for the very ideas that he’s running on right now. I wish Ari well, and I hope he will be an independent candidate and stop being Gregory Davidzon’s puppet.”
Church & State
As the old saying goes, politics makes strange bedfellows, and that is certainly true in this year’s mayoral election. One dark-horse candidate is being backed by an alliance made from an odd coupling of religious Jews and Evangelical Christian Latinos to support his socially conservative yet resolutely Democratic agenda. In a city—and a mayoral race—where even Republicans tend to be socially liberal, a religious, right-wing Democrat is certainly a novelty. But Pastor Erick Salgado would like to be more than that. Mr. Salgado, who lives in Staten Island and claims his Iglesia Jovenes Cristianos, or Churdch of the Young Christians, now has “around twenty” congregations “in the New York area,” said Jews and Christians with conservative religious beliefs have been denied “the respect that they deserve” from the city’s dominant political party.
“We are Democrats; we don’t want to do this in another party, we want to do this here in this one,” he explained to Politicker when we spoke with him last week in a small campaign office a few blocks from one of his churches in Bath Beach
Donovan Richards declared victory today in the Queens special election to replace his mentor, former Councilman James Sanders, putting to rest fears that the election’s outcome would be unknown for weeks or even months in what had become a racially-charged contest.
With all absentee and affidavit votes counted, Mr. Richards padded his razor-thin 26-vote Election Day margin with another 133 votes, while his main competitor, Pesach Osina, only gathered an additional 80. This brought the unofficial tally to 2,646 for Mr. Richards and 2,567 for Mr. Osina, a wide enough margin to avoid an automatic recount. The results will be certified next week.
He’s a thespian and not a politician, but Da’Shawn Luckey wants to become Manhattan’s next borough president this year.
“I feel like I can offer something New York City hasn’t had in a long time,” Mr. Luckey, a southern-born actor whose personal website beckons visitors to “Enter Here to Share My Love” told Politicker. “We need someone who can show integrity and get their hands dirty … we can always try to look at what we have and try to improve upon that.”
Keep Calm and Carrion
“I know there are some Republicans here in the crowd!”
Adolfo Carrion, the ex-Democrat, grinned at his supporters and waited for the expected cheers. They trickled in, failing to match the cheering reserved for Mr. Carrion’s many self-effacing quips or lofty promises for a nonpartisan mayoralty. For Mr. Carrion, a former Bronx Borough President trying to run for mayor as a Republican, it was an early indication of the uphill battle to come.
Headline of the Day: “The #1 Reason NYC Subway Honcho Joe Lhota Will Never Be Mayor.”
Joe Lhota is denying a report that he said he supports hunting Staten Island deer with bow and arrow. Nevertheless, before the denial was issued, rivals John Catsimatidis and Bill Thompson had already blasted Mr. Lhota, with Mr. Thompson’s spokesman declaring, “Bill Thompson will focus on creating middle-class jobs … not on killing Bambi.”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind may have offered his sincere apology for dressing up as a “black basketball player” for Purim, but that doesn’t mean The Daily Show can’t have a little fun with the incident. Accordingly, that’s exactly what happened last night.
“If you live in the New York area, you may be familiar with State Assemblyman Dov Hikind,” the show’s host, Jon Stewart, began as he ticked off allegations of anti-Semitism Mr. Hikind has leveled against others. “Some of this may seem like a bit of an overreaction, but the guy is standing up for a group, whenever he feels this group has been unfairly maligned or held up for ridicule. So what’s he been up to lately?”
Coney Island Clash
The field for term-limited Councilman Domenic Recchia’s seat shrunk a little bit when redistricting recently forced at least one candidate to switch races, but politics abhors a vacuum and a new candidate has jumped into contention.
“Yes, I’m in,” Mark Treyger, a staffer for Assemblyman Bill Colton, told Politicker in a statement. “I’ll be formally announcing my candidacy for the New York City Council in the next several days.”