Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. is a self-proclaimed conservative Democrat, a sharp-tongued proponent of stop-and-frisk and a perpetual thorn in the side of the borough’s Democratic establishment. John Liu is perhaps the most left-wing candidate in the mayoral race, in favor of abolishing the controversial anti-crime tactic and was once a darling of the Queens Democratic Party.
Yet Mr. Liu, the city comptroller running for mayor, and Mr. Vallone, who is running for borough president, may form a seemingly unlikely alliance that could further both of their ambitions.
The two Democrats have been in discussion about a plan to endorse each other, help carry petitions for each other and aid in pulling votes from certain constituencies, according to several Queens Democratic insiders familiar with their plans.
When the Queens Democratic Party rolled out its endorsements this morning in Forest Hills, one notable demographic, African Americans, was left without a major candidate. Indeed, Queens’ black political establishment looked on with disappointment as their favored candidates for mayor, borough president and public advocate were passed over for rivals.
Congressman Joe Crowley, the party chair, endorsed Council Speaker Christine Quinn for mayor and former Councilwoman Melinda Katz for borough president. While a vast majority of district leaders voiced their approval, Elmer Blackburne and several other black district leaders dissented, indicating that instead they would support Bill Thompson, the former comptroller, who is also black. Ms. Quinn and Ms. Katz are white.
John Liu’s mayoral campaign may be hovering around ten percent in the polls, but according to the candidate himself, they understate his support by more than twofold. Indeed, a beaming Mr. Liu told a room full of teachers yesterday that if the surveys were accurate, he’d actually have the support of a quarter of the city’s Democratic primary electorate.
“My true base of support in the electorate is closer to 25 percent,” Mr. Liu, the city’s comptroller, exclaimed at a teacher’s union mayoral forum in Brooklyn. “You add on top of that the tremendous amount of labor support I’m going to have, that puts me very much in the running–much more so than other candidates who I don’t think have any piece of their base that is not being reflected in the public poll numbers.”
Short on bombast and long on analysis, left-leaning academics and the co-chair of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus took to the stage at the CUNY Graduate Center last night to outline their alternative vision for a city in the twilight of the Bloomberg era.
“We’ve been in a kind of sitting in the laboratory, mixing the chemicals phase in the past nine months and we hope to go out and cause a few explosions in the coming months and after the elections,” said John Mollenkopf, a CUNY political science professor and co-organizer of the panel discussion, “Progressive Policies for the Future of New York City,” which the New York Times’ Michael Powell moderated.
I get knocked down
For nearly any other candidate, two guilty verdicts in the trial of a trusted treasurer and fund-raiser on campaign finance fraud charges would spell the end of his or her campaign. But this is John Liu.
The city comptroller soldiered on with his campaign on Friday, attending a fund-raiser where he vowed to not only continue his campaign but win the race—and slammed the feds’ case in the process, taunting them to “put up or shut up” yet again.
“I am speechless,” Mr. Liu said from the living room of the opulent Cobble Hill home, where several dozen supporters had gathered to hear from the candidate. “When I walked in, I was speechless. I mean, this has been an amazing experience, an amazing ride. You could never make this stuff up,” he said, insisting he can still win again and again.
Just Like Obama
At a fund-raiser last night for his one-time deputy mayor Joe Lhota, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani not only came out swinging against Democratic officials’ counter-terrorism policies, he blasted this year’s crop of Democratic mayoral candidates, saying neither they–nor President Barack Obama–had ever held a real job.
Mr. Giuliani, one of Mr. Lhota’s biggest backers as he seeks the Republican nomination for City Hall’s top job, touted his former attack dog’s record in the private sector and as the city’s once-budget director.
“That’s exactly what we need. Not these career politicians who have never really held a job. Like our President, who never really held a job,” he said, to laughs, according to footage of the speech at the Excelsior Grand in Staten Island, captured by blogger Jacob Kornbluh.
As the spotlight shines on mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn’s record as City Council Speaker, at least half a dozen members are considering forcing measures she opposes to the floor in an unprecedented display of rebellion, Council sources said Friday.
At least one member has already collected the seven signatures needed to file two motion to discharge petitions to bypass Ms. Quinn—a tactic that was threatened in the paid sick leave fight, but that no member has dared yet under her tenure.
A mayoral election season that has been dominated by one hum-drum debate after the next got a rare moment of levity Friday when former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made an unannounced appearance, courtesy of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
Mr. de Blasio was making the point that New York City would soon eclipse Silicon Valley as the nation’s tech capital, so he channeled the none other than star of Kindergarten Cop.
“If Arnold Schwarzenegger were here, he would say this: No-thern Ca-lee-for-nia, your domination of the tech industry is being Terminated,” said Mr. de Blasio in his best (though lacking) Schwarzenegger accent.
Christine Quinn’s mayoral campaign scheduling arrives with a caveat that her rivals rarely, if ever, employ: “NOT FOR PRINT OR BROADCAST” and “ALL ITEMS EMBARGOED UNTIL DATE AND TIME OF EVENT.”
Beginning with her bid’s launch last month, the Quinn campaign has told reporters they cannot reveal Ms. Quinn’s whereabouts until the event she is attending is underway. In contrast, all but one of Ms. Quinn’s competitors have no stipulations whatsoever, oftentimes simply stating “Media Advisory” or “For Immediate Release.” Only Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s campaign says, “For Planning Purposes Only,” but there is no specific order to avoid publishing the details.
Longshot mayoral candidate Erick Salgado wants to bring Mayor Rudy Giuliani back to City Hall– this time as the new police commissioner.
Mr. Salgado, a socially conservative reverend, said he’d love to keep current Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on as the city’s top cop, but has at least one back-up choice in mind.
“I would consider Ray Kelly if he’s available. If he’s not interested, maybe I ask Rudy Giuliani to come and serve as police commissioner,” he said during the campaign’s first televised debate, which was held at John Jay College and sponsored by NY1.