The Grand Old Party will collapse in the near future, veteran Congressman Charlie Rangel prognosticates.
“There are a lot of Republicans that I know are not proud of this period that they’re going through,” the Harlem Democratic told ABC’s Rick Klein. “I predict the end of the Republican Party, maybe not in my lifetime, but soon.”
Councilman Dan Halloran, charged last week in a wide-reaching bribery scheme, often says his office has been consistently ranked number one citywide in constituent services, but it’s not completely clear where his number comes from.
Indeed, after Mr. Halloran’s chief of staff resigned yesterday, his spokesman repeated the assertion that their office was “the most responsive to constituents in the Council, closing over 8,000 cases.” At his re-election kick-off in February, Mr. Halloran himself touted their “No. 1 ranking in constituent services in the Council.” The claim was again presented by his spokesman last October and their office produced a press release celebrating the achievement in January.
Mo' Money Mo' Problems
“That’s politics in New York,” the New York Post‘s cover blared in stark black-and-white ink this morning. “It’s all about the f–king money.”
The quote, allegedly made from Councilman Dan Halloran to a cooperating witness, was revealed yesterday as U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara unsealed charges not only against Mr. Halloran, but State Sen. Malcolm Smith and a small slew of other political figures in what Mr. Bharara called “a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself.”
Specifically, Mr. Halloran is accused of “essentially quarterbacking” a scheme to secure Republican establishment support for Mr. Smith’s mayoral bid. Mr. Smith, a Democrat, would need the blessing of three of the five county Republican organizations to run on the GOP line, and he allegedly arranged for cash bribes in his attempt to do so. But, looking more broadly, the strange scandal also shines light on these county organizations and their few remaining powers in city politics.
Democratic State Sen. Daniel Squadron called on his Democratic colleague, State Sen. Malcolm Smith, to resign after he was arrested this morning and accused of orchestrating bribery scheme to land himself in the Republican mayoral primary.
“The charges outlined in today’s complaint are simply shocking,” Mr. Squadron, who’s also a candidate for public advocate this year, said in a statement earlier today. “This is something that belongs in ‘House of Cards,’ not an election to decide who will run our city or any part of our government. Regardless of the outcome of the criminal charges filed against Senator Smith, he has lost the public trust — and he should resign.”
The Boogie Down
In a serious blow to Adolfo Carrión’s chances of running on the GOP line, the Bronx County Republican Party is backing Joe Lhota for mayor. Mr. Lhota’s campaign announced the endorsement this afternoon with a statement that included a quote from Bronx GOP chair Jay Savino, who met with Mr. Lhota along with the rest of the county party’s executive committee Monday night.
“After an open and honest exchange it was our conclusion that Joe Lhota is the most qualified candidate in this race,” Mr. Savino said. “His proven leadership, in and outside of government, is exactly what New York City needs.”
Earlier today, the New York State Republican Party employed a sexual innuendo in its push for Governor Andrew Cuomo to reform so-called unfunded mandates, which require local governments to contribute to state social programs without the funding for them, so that local tax relief can be passed on to struggling municipalities.
“So Governor, How big is your mandate relief package?” the party asked in a Facebook image featuring Mr. Cuomo making a rather suggestive gesture indicating a small object.
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.”