Comptroller John Liu is finally ready to take the plunge.
Mr. Liu, the last of the remaining major Democratic mayoral candidates who has yet to declare his electoral intentions, will formally announce his candidacy Sunday afternoon, according to multiple sources.
Earlier this evening, outspoken Councilman Peter Vallone officially launched his campaign for campaign for Queens Borough President. And, standing before an incredibly packed Greek restaurant in Astoria, both Mr. Vallone and his supporters made sure everyone was fully aware of the self-described conservative Democrat’s independent streak.
“He was able to stand up to the Speaker when she was trying to bully him,” said Norman Seabrook, the President of the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association who officially endorsed Mr. Vallone today. “Can you imagine what he would do as borough president when given the opportunity to step forward, not only for the people in this room, but this borough? He is truly a man indicative of being able to become one of the greatest of all time.”
The news that former presidential candidate Herman Cain joined Fox News as a contributor last month got some negative reviews from media pundits and one Breitbart.com writer believes the criticism of Mr. Cain is racist and comparable to the violence inflicted on African-American protesters during the Civil Rights movement. In an article that appeared Friday on “Big Journalism,” the media section of the conservative web network started by the late Andrew Breitbart, writer John Nolte compared members of the “media establishment” who have criticized Mr. Cain to infamous Alabama lawman Eugene “Bull” Connor, who notoriously ordered fire hoses and police dogs to be used against anti-Jim Crow protesters.
“No one is claiming Herman Cain is perfect, but there is no question he is currently being singled out as the sexualized clownish idiot based solely on the color of his skin. This is what the left and elite media always do to those who ‘don’t know their place,’” Mr. Nolte wrote. “In the segregated South, racist whites (almost all of them Democrats) used the exact same tactics to keep blacks from obtaining political power. The only difference is that today “Bull” Connor (another Democrat) is the media establishment, the dogs are the likes of Chuck Todd, Joe Scarborough, and Howard Kurtz, and the fire hose is The Narrative.”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind held a press conference in front of his home this afternoon responding to the uproar over a story that first appeared on Politicker today about his “black basketball player” Purim costume. In front of a small crowd of reporters, Mr. Hikind apologized that people were “offended” and reiterated his initial defense that the getup, which consisted of an orange jersey, brown face paint, an afro wig and sunglasses was merely a costume to celebrate the Jewish Purim holiday. However, even after Mr. Hikind addressed the firestorm, several members of the City Council sent letters to the Assemblyman arguing his apology did not go far enough.
“Anyone who was offended by the outfit that I was wearing on Purim yesterday … it was not meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone in any fashion,” Mr. Hikind began. “That is not what I am all about for the past 31 years in pub office and before that.”
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is standing by his decision to don a Purim costume that some people have described as offensive “blackface.” The outfit, which consisted of brown face paint, an afro wig and sunglasses in what Mr. Hikind described as a representation of a “black basketball player”provoked widespread outrage after Politicker first wrote about it this morning. However, in a post on his personal website bluntly titled “It’s Purim. People Dress Up,” Mr. Hikind argued his critics don’t understand the nature of the Purim holiday, a costume and wine-fueled reverie commemorating a time when Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.
One power broker in southeast Queens fears that the next City Council candidate to represent the 31st Council district will be a “young Jewish boy.”
In order to prevent Pesach Osina, an Orthodox Jewish former staffer to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, from winning the election, Bishop Charles Norris, founder of the Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church, is urging some of the eight other candidates to step aside. The seat in the majority black district was left open when James Sanders was elected to the State Senate and next week’s special election to replace him has attracted a crowded field.
“The black vote would be split among the six or seven candidates,” Mr. Norris told Politicker yesterday. “Since Jews vote in a bloc, as they usually do—and there’s nothing wrong with that—the young Jewish boy in the Rockaways would win.”
Quinnipiac University Polling Institute is out with another survey of New York City voters today and Council Speaker Christine Quinn, with 35 percent of the vote, still posts a wide margin over her main Democratic rivals in the campaign for City Hall. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio came in second with 11 percent, followed by former Comptroller Bill Thompson at 10 percent and Comptroller John Liu’s 9 percent.
“Council Speaker Christine Quinn still dominates the Democratic field,” Maurice Carroll, the polling firm’s director, said in a statement. “There is almost no gender gap for any candidate. For example, Quinn gets 36 percent of women and 34 percent of men, while Liu gets 10 percent of men and 9 percent of women.”
Late last night, The New York Times broke the news that M.T.A. Chairman Joe Lhota is considering entering next year’s mayoral race as a Republican, and is being strongly urged by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani to do so. Since Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is Mr. Lhota’s boss and the chairman was beside him at a press conference this afternoon, a reporter asked the governor about this possibility. Needless to say, Mr. Cuomo does not sound not interested in adding to his current political complications he’s already dealing with in Albany.
“I’m going to try to stay out of the politics of New York City if I can avoid it,” Mr. Cuomo replied. Pressed on whether he will make any endorsement whatsoever, he succinctly added, “I’m not expecting to, no.”
Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a Harlem activist with a controversial past who is running for term-limited Councilman Robert Jackson’s seat, circulated an email late last night in an attempt to plan a “private meeting” to “discuss the potential damage to the political empowerment of the Black and Hispanic community if Mark Levine, a White/Jewish candidate was elected to the 7th Council District in 2013.” This morning, Mr. Lopez-Pierre told Politicker he isn’t organizing the meeting himself and is working on behalf of a larger group who became concerned when they read a report on the political blog The Perez Notes that the Upper Manhattan political machine headed by State Senator Adriano Espaillat and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez has been working to “clear” the crowded field of candidates running for the seat to help Mr. Levine win.
“Now that he actually has a chance to win it’s scaring people,” said Mr. Lopez-Pierre. “So, what started first as a discussion of the blog post has now mushroomed among candidates and community leaders into basically a ‘Stop Levine’ campaign.”
The Thrilla in Wasilla
Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin sparked a controversy yesterday when she posted a note on her Facebook page accusing President Barack Obama of engaging in a “shuck and jive shtick” with “lies” about the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya last month. The term “shuck and jive” originated in the Deep South and has been used as a derogatory description of African-Americans. After Ms. Palin faced accusations her use of the phrase was racist, she fired back with another Facebook note that pointed to past uses of the term by Governor Andrew Cuomo, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
“For the record, there was nothing remotely racist in my use of the phrase ‘shuck and jive’–a phrase which many people have used, including Chris Matthews, Andrew Cuomo, and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to name a few off the top of my head,” Ms. Palin wrote. “In fact, Andrew Cuomo also used the phrase in reference to Barack Obama, and the fact that Mr. Cuomo and I used the phrase in relation to President Obama signifies nothing out of the ordinary.”