Last night in the Dyker Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, Republican officials, operatives and activists gathered to toast influential Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, including multiple mayoral candidates and–jokingly–at least one Gracie Mansion contender whose campaign has yet to be mentioned.
“I’m happy to be here,” Mr. Long, the honoree of the evening, declared as he name-checked various officials in the room. “Joe Lhota, they’re saying that there’s an interest he may be running for mayor. … Adolfo Carrión, I hear the same rumor about you, that you may be thinking about running for mayor. There’s a lot of people in the room running for mayor and I haven’t even made my announcement yet!”
While the Queens Republican Party can’t quite seem to get its act together and unify behind Councilman Eric Ulrich, the leading GOP candidate against Democratic Senator Joe Addabbo, the county’s Conservative Party gave Mr. Ulrich a fist bump with an official endorsement today.
“Eric understands that job creation is the key to strengthening our communities and putting New York back on the right path,” Queens Conservative Chairman Tom Long said in a statement. “He will fight for lower taxes on small businesses and provide incentives for businesses to hire and grow. We need new leaders in Albany, like Councilman Ulrich, who will focus on fixing the economy and making our neighborhoods safe.”
The Staten Island Conservative Party’s executive committee endorsed Democratic incumbent Rep. Michael McMahon in 2010, but with a new chairman and a new Republican incumbent, that’s not happening this time around.
Later this morning, Mr. Grimm will receive the endorsement of both the Brooklyn and Staten Island Conservative Parties, ensuring him a third ballot line along with the Independence Party. In 2010, the Brooklyn Conservatives were able to overrule their Staten Island counterparts’ attempt — spearheaded by Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro — to give their ballot line to the Democrat.
The race between veteran Councilman Lew Fidler and Republican upstart David Storobin was a vicious campaign that included charges of pedophilia, Nazism and election day allegations “a Storobin thug” ran over a Fidler volunteer with a van. A police spokesperson subsequently told The New York Times the claim about the van proved to be untrue. In the end, Mr. Storobin was up by 120 votes in the final pre-paper ballot tally, but both candidates declared victory and the campaign is headed to a close count and court fight. However, as Mr. Storobin pointed out in a speech at his election night party, no one expected him to come close.
“We counted 100 percent of the votes but there are still some votes, some paper votes that are left, but based on all the info that we have, I’m proud to say that we, all of us, won this race. There may be recounts and we may have to wait for official results for a few days, or maybe even a couple of weeks, but like I said, the good won, we won,” Mr. Storobin said. “Tonight, we’ll go to bed as winners when nobody outside believed that we had a shot to even compete, when every story about this campaign began with Lew Fidler, the heavy favorite.”
Congressman Bob Turner’s surprise Senate campaign started too late for him to earn a spot on the Conservative Party ticket, but he still stopped by the convention where Wendy Long received the nomination today.
“I’m here today to pay my respects to the Conservative Party,” Mr. Turner said in a press conference held after his visit at the convention. “I would like very much to be on their nominating ballot, there’s a process in place and certain rules and my late entry in that has made this extraordinarily problematic.”
Wendy Long, an attorney and former Chief Counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network, seems to be increasing her campaign outreach as she explores a potential run against Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Ms. Long created some buzz when she spoke at a Conservative Party event a month ago, as she was not previously known to be considering a run. Although she has been fairly quiet since, the Kings County Conservative Party just announced he’s scheduled to speak at their annual brunch in March.
U.S. Senate candidate George Maragos raised some eyebrows the other day when he announced the endorsement of the “Conservative Party USA (NY)” on the same day that he, and other potential candidates, met with the far more influential New York State Conservative Party.
Asked about this last night on Inside City Hall, Mr. Maragos offered a round of apologies for the confusion.
“The Conservative Party USA endorsed me, it’s a small party. I apologize for the confusion that may have caused, because that’s a different party [from] the New York party headed by Mike Long,” he said. “I called Mike Long personally to apologize in that regard.”
“We have lost our confidence, or, as younger people would say, ‘mojo,’” Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn told a not-so-young crowd at the New York Conservative Party’s 49th Annual Dinner at the Sheraton last night.
Mr. Coburn was speaking generally of the country’s malaise, not about the state of the state Conservative Party, which seems to have regained some mojo in recent months.
The dinner—proudly titled “Recovering Row C”–celebrated the party’s move back to the third ballot line, and came as its chairman, Mike Long, has inserted the party into the debate over same-sex marriage, by pledging to deny an endorsement to any legislator who supports the measure.