Ken Biberaj, a vice president at the iconic Russian Tea Room restaurant, has hired a big name to work on his City Council campaign: veteran political consultant Hank Sheinkopf. Mr. Biberaj is running to replace term-limited incumbent Councilwoman Gale Brewer.
“As an Upper West Sider myself, I’m thrilled to work with a candidate who has such a compelling vision for the neighborhood’s future,” Mr. Sheinkopf said in a statement this morning. “It is important that we help protect small businesses and young families on the West Side, and I look forward to representing such a strong and motivated candidate as Mr. Biberaj.”
By the end of the month, Chris Ward, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, will be out of a job. Some of his aides and allies—and even possibly the big man himself—think they have a good position lined up for The Man Who Saved Ground Zero: mayor of New York City.
“Mayor Bloomberg has changed the public perception of what it means to be mayor, and that is a good and a bad thing” one Ward aide involved in the recruitment efforts told The Politicker. “People think this is a job for someone outside of politics. Chris kind of fits that bill. He is a chief executive, and chief executive of a huge municipality. Do we want to revert to form after we’ve broken the mold?”
While most of the pressure has come from those in Mr. Ward’s orbit and a few outsiders (call them the Wardens!), the lumbering, loquacious life-long civil servant would not pass up Gracie Mansion if the opportunity presented itself. Over the past few months, since things started to go south at the Port Authority under deteriorating relations with Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mr. Ward has been saying in private that he would not mind running for political office, in particular mayor, according to a person present for some of those conversations.
So long as the political—and financial—support is there, there may well be a Chris Ward candidacy.
City Councilman Robert Jackson of Harlem didn’t raise any money in his latest campaign filing, but he is looking to run for higher office.
A source said Jackson spoke about running for Manhattan Borough President in 2013, and has already met with Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf.
Eliot Spitzer’s second career has come to an end, and, most likely, so have his chances for a return to his first.
With CNN dropping Spitzer’s talk show — In The Arena nee Parker Spitzer — the combative, wonky talk show host has lost the vehicle that allowed him to publicly flirt with running for mayor in 2013.
Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf — who cut
a few all the ads for Spitzer during his 1998 run for attorney general — emailed me to say: “Former attorney general, resigned governor, former cable show host is just so former. The closest he’ll get to being elected mayor 2013 is voting.”
After a nationally watched campaign in upstate New York, Kathy Hochul made her New York City debut Monday morning at the stately University Club on West 54th Street.Hundreds of guests attending the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Breakfast milled around a breakfast buffet of muffins and fruit salad, while their host, Nora Brenes, introduced Mrs. Hochul as the winner of a special election “that came about as a result of our male New York congress members who keep taking their shirts off,” according to one attendee.
The crowd laughed, because an Anthony Weiner joke at a Democratic political function is one that needs no explanation. He is, much to the chagrin of his New York colleagues, everywhere: overshadowing their message, imperiling a safe congressional seat, and affecting their redistricting plans.
On a recent Tuesday afternoon, outside a firehouse on the north shore of Staten Island, Bill de Blasio slipped between a throng of sweaty, angry protesters and was quickly ushered to a microphone stand.
“This mayor loves to brag how devoted he is to the numbers,” said Mr. de Blasio. “This is the fastest growing borough, and this borough needs more fire protection, not less. And the numbers show it.”
The crowd of more than 200 cheered. They had rallied in front of the 105-year-old, redbrick building that houses one of 20 fire companies slated to close as part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed budget cuts.
“The mayor is saying to some parts of this city, ‘You’re going to be less safe,’ and somehow, you’re supposed to grin and bear it,” said Mr. de Blasio. “That’s not right and that’s not how a democracy works. That’s not the city government doing its job.”
A little more about my item where surrogates (Bill Samuels and Hank Sheinkopf) for likely 2013 candidates (Bill de Blasio and Anthony Weiner) were sparring.
In my item, Samuels launched the attack, calling Weiner “too shrill” overall, and his opposition to non-partisan redistricting “ridiculous.” Sheinkopf came to Weiner’s defense, calling Samuels out of touch and “the guy with the silver spoon.”
It’s an interesting position for Sheinkopf, who worked for Bloomberg’s 2009 campaign that pushed Weiner out of the race.
Page Six asked Sheinkopf if he’s working for Weiner.
“I never discuss what I’m doing. I presume I’ll be employed,” he told them.
very special elections
More news out of the 54th Assembly district–a seat left vacant when Darryl Towns was named Andrew Cuomo’s housing commissioner.
According to several sources, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez is backing Jesus Gonzalez, a community organizer with Make the Road New York who also has the support of the Working Families Party. Velazquez has a longtime rivalry with Brooklyn Democratic leader Vito Lopez. Rafael Espinal, who is the chief-of-staff to Council member Erik Dilan–a longtime Lopez ally–is also in the race.