Stumping in Staten Island last night, Anthony Weiner took a swipe at how President Barack Obama sold his signature health care initiative to the American public.
“I tried to make the point that I think President Obama never made very effectively, which is, health care is about the economy,” Mr. Weiner said in front of a Democratic club on the island’s North Shore. “We [have] such a large amount of our dollars being poured into health care for workers, those are dollars that can’t go into giving people wage increases.”
A Democratic mayoral candidate claimed yesterday he received three death threats after an anti-gay marriage group endorsed his candidacy.
Erick Salgado, a socially conservative minister and long-shot candidate, told reporters at a Staten Island mayoral forum Monday night that he was the victim of three emailed death threats after the National Organization for Marriage, a group dedicated to fighting the legalization of same-sex marriage, endorsed him last week.
Just Like Obama
Anthony Weiner took a beating on his first official stop in Staten Island Monday night.
Mr. Weiner was repeatedly hit by his rivals, including Green Party candidate Tony Gronowicz and former Councilman Sal Albanese, for an old racially-charged campaign flier, his congressional vote authorizing the Iraq War, and his allegedly “coarse” conduct during a candidates’ forum hosted by the Pleasant Plains, Prince’s Bay and Richmond Valley Civic Association.
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.
For local races, New York City overwhelmingly tilts towards the Democratic Party and there are only a handful of Council campaigns with the potential to be competitive in this November. The race for outgoing GOP Councilman Jimmy Oddo’s seat is likely to be one of them. And, according to a source active in local politics, the Democratic establishment is backing Mendy Mirocznik, a non-practing rabbi and lawyer, for the Staten Island district.
“We’re seeing fewer education dollars, less transportation options, deteriorating roads and there seems to be no relief in sight,” Mr. Mirocznik said in a statement announcing his candidacy yesterday. “Meanwhile, our small-businesses, the economic engine, of our community are struggling to survive – that is not a recipe for recovery. We need an advocate who will reverse this trend and bring real results for Mid-Islanders, and I believe I can do that.”
Staten Island’s Republican Party may be in turmoil, but GOP mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota said he’s confident he’ll still win them over.
“I am,” Mr. Lhota said yesterday at the Brooklyn Young Republican Club when asked about his confidence in earning the entity’s support. “I am very comfortable in my position with the leadership on Staten Island.”
Guy Molinari may be raging at Joe Lhota, but it doesn’t seem that anger has filtered up to the highest levels of the Staten Island Republican Party.
Mr. Molinari, a significant local power broker and a former borough president, unleashed on Mr. Lhota in the Staten Island Advance today, announcing he would withdraw his endorsement and instead back another Republican candidate, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, for mayor. Mr. Molinari said Mr. Lhota had not even returned his phone messages and thus was undeserving of his support.
“What the hell is going on?” Mr. Molinari charged. “They’re making me look bad. I still don’t have the courtesy of a stupid phone call.”
the littlest borough
It snowed, hailed and rained on Bill de Blasio’s parade. The public advocate spent Monday, his first official day as a mayoral candidate, on a journey that spanned over sixty miles and all five boroughs, a dramatic, physical manifestation of his plan to propel himself to Gracie Mansion by reaching out to disenfranchised residents in the far flung corners of the city and channeling populist backlash against the policies of Mayor Michael Bloomberg along the way.
M.T.A. Chairman Joe Lhota made quite the splash earlier this week when he announced he will retire at the end of the year in order to contemplate a mayoral bid as a Republican. At the same time he made the announcement, however, Mr. Lhota’s agency approved a round of fare hikes, including an increase on the unpopular Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll, which has some GOP politicos wondering if his political brand took a blow in a critical Republican constituency.
“I can already see the knives coming out about a $15 dollar toll on the Verrazano,” Republican consultant Gerry O’Brien told Politicker. “The M.T.A. is always one of the political entities under attack from politicians.”
However, Bob Scamardella, Staten Island’s Republican county chairman who has spoken approvingly about Mr. Lhota’s candidacy in the past, argued Mr. Lhota’s broader profile will be at stake, not just one issue.
Today was a big day for Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro. Two weeks after he was on NBC complaining his borough was being ignored in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Molinaro spent a substantial amount of time talking with President Barack Obama as the commander in chief toured areas of Staten Island that were devastated by the storm. Mr. Molinaro also encountered a man who is apparently a very, very big fan of his work.