Republican mayoral hopeful George McDonald vowed to soldier on after raising less than $4,000 in the latest filing period, raising serious questions about the viability of his campaign.
The Doe Fund founder brought in just $3,580 from March 12 through May 11, according to a campaign spokesman–a total that would be considered disappointing for even a City Council candidate, let alone someone campaigning citywide. That leaves Mr. McDonald with just $126,000 cash-on-hand–$125,000 of which came from a loan from the candidate himself.
The Liberal Party endorsed Republican John Catsimatidis as its mayoral candidate, party heads announced at a press conference Tuesday.
“John Catsimatidis understands history and respects the power of a successful Republican-Liberal Party fusion in New York City electoral politic,” party chair Jack Olchin said in a statement. “In addition, John also understands the concerns and aspirations of all New Yorkers and we feel he will be a people’s Mayor just like the first Republican-Liberal Party fusion Mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia in the 1940′s.”
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.
The Greek-born John Catsimatidis is ineligible to run for President of the United States, but that doesn’t mean the GOP mayoral candidate hasn’t thought about it. Indeed, during yesterday’s rowdy event at the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, Mr. Catsimatidis talked extensively about federal policy before proclaiming that he would have defeated President Barack Obama’s re-election bid if he were in the race.
“I’m running for mayor, I can’t run for president!” he declared. “But let me tell you something, I would have won. I could have beat Obama. Buy me a box of Kleenex.”
Cats Out of The Bag
Earlier today, John Catsimatidis gave his mayoral campaign pitch to the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, and it was certainly not a humdrum affair. His initial speech, given as he stood in the backroom of a Cobble Hill Irish pub, went smoothly enough. When Mr. Catsimatidis veered into the question-and-answer period, however, the GOP candidate quarreled extensively with a multiple audience members.
“I still don’t understand what your plan is,” conservative activist Frank Russo told Mr. Catsimatidis, for example, about his job training program. “Quite frankly, I’m being honest. I’m not trying to be confrontational.”
“That’s public money, that’s my money,” another audience member chimed in about the proposal, which would train some young people trade skills early on in their careers. “You think it’s okay to steal it!”
The three leading Republican candidates for mayor all support the use of controversial unmanned drones to watch over New York City–as long as cameras aren’t peering into their bedrooms.
“I’m absolutely for it,” said former MTA Chair Joe Lhota, speaking at a candidates’ forum hosted by the New York Young Republican Club in Midtown Tuesday night. “Drones to be used from a surveillance point of view, so long as it understands people’s privacy rights.”
Manhattan GOP Chair Dan Isaacs assured his supporters in an email today that he has nothing to do with the alleged political bribery scheme that has already led to six arrests across the state.
“Nonetheless, if anyone harbors concern that there is ‘another shoe to drop’ here in Manhattan, I want to take this opportunity to reassure you that there is not,” Mr. Isaacs wrote. “Anyone who knows me and has worked with me during my involvement with the Republican Party knows that I value personal integrity over all else.”
Vince Tabone, who works both as a staffer on GOP mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis’ campaign and as an attorney in the billionaire businessman’s company, was reportedly among the politicos arrested earlier this morning, a group that also includes State Sen. Malcolm Smith and Councilman Dan Halloran. They face wire fraud and bribery charges in an alleged scheme to help rig the mayoral race in Mr. Smith’s favor.
Politicker reached out to Mr. Catsimatidis for his reaction to these developments.
Law & Order
Two of the most colorful characters in New York City politics, Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith and GOP Councilman Dan Halloran, were arrested earlier this morning, according to multiple news outlets. They were among six people reportedly charged, including Bronx GOP chair Jay Savino and Queens GOP vice-chair Vince Tabone, in an alleged bribery plot to secure Mr. Smith a slot to run in the Republican mayoral primary.
Mr. Halloran is known for many things in city politics, including his outspoken embrace of libertarian philosophy, disputed reports of an intentional snowplow slowdown after 2010′s infamous blizzard, and his pagan religion. Meanwhile, Mr. Smith might be best known for his zoot suits complete with suspenders and pinstripes, picking strange political battles like a press conference denouncing the rapper Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter, and his somewhat surprising decision to seek City Hall’s top job on the other side of the partisan aisle without actually changing his voter registration. He would have needed the support of three GOP county leaders to do so, which federal prosecutors are alleging is at the heart of today’s case.
A Bipartisan Ship
John Catsimatidis may be campaigning for mayor on the Republican line, but the billionaire businessman is willing to cross the party aisle for his consultants. Accordingly, Mr. Catsimatidis hired Millennial Strategies LLC, a political shop stacked with mostly Democratic operatives.
Brad Gerstman, a partner at the firm, told Politicker that Mr. Catsimatidis is their only Republican client, but given New York City’s Democratic tilt, the move makes plenty of sense for the GOP Gracie Mansion hopeful.