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RACE TO CITY HALL

‘Endorsement Day Tuesday’ Pits Candidates Vying for Media Attention

"There are folks who are billionaires, and folks have to question why they're in the race."
Democratic mayoral hopefuls Bill Thompson

Democratic mayoral hopefuls Bill Thompson

On Genesis’ third day of Creation, the statement “And God saw that it was good” is mentioned twice. So Tuesday’s double portion of good makes it a particularly fortuitous day.

This week on Tuesday, Mayoral hopefuls Bill Thompson, John Catsimatidis and Joe Lhota rolled out key endorsements, in hope of getting themselves to November and beyond.

First was Bill Thompson, who got the backing of Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. in front of City Hall, standing next to Thompson, touting the former comptroller’s commitment to the Bronx and his track record with the community.

Díaz said Thompson had shown, when he worked on “broader issues,” that “there’s been equity.”

“There’s a certain commitment,” he said. “There’s a heart that he has that says, ‘I want to do for all New Yorkers.’”

Mr. Diaz repeatedly cited Mr. Thompson’s “character,” “résumé,” and “temperament.”

At the press conference, Azi Paybarah asked Mr. Diaz if his references to Thompson’s temperament were intended to draw a distinction between the candidate and his two main opponents, Weiner and Quinn? He said they were not.

But Diaz did draw some unmistakable contrasts between Thompson and a couple of the other candidates in the current field, without naming them. “Just because you’re a Latino candidate, this is not about satisfying your ego. This is not about proving a point,” said Diaz. “Running for mayor of the city of New York is serious. It’s real serious business.”

The next mayor needs to “know what they’re doing,” Diaz said, and “I’m not into soap operas here. I’m not into somebody trying to satisfy their ego.”

When pressed if that was a reference to Adolfo Carrion Jr., his predecessor in the Bronx who is running on the Independent line, Diaz said, “You can come to whatever conclusion you want. But it’s not just him. There are folks who are billionaires, and folks have to question why they’re in the race.”

Next was John Catsimatidis, who had his press conference on the east side of City Hall, rolling out the endorsement of the Liberal Party, a party without a line on the ballot, vowing he’s in the race for November with or without the GOP line.

“John Catsimatidis understands history and respects the power of a successful Republican-Liberal Party fusion in New York City electoral politics,” said LP Chairman Jack Olchin. “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.”

“A member of the Liberal Party recently described John Catsimatidis as an ‘uncommon common man,’ an individual who will speak to all New Yorkers in a language they understand; with a genuine feeling and concern for their well-being that will be recognized in every neighborhood in the city and by all of us who care about New York’s present and future,” he added in the statement.

“I am proud to accept the nomination of the Liberal Party, and with their support and the support of the Republican Party create the coalition needed to win in November,” Mr. Catsimatidis said in a released statement.

Catsimatidis suggested the endorsement was a “game-changer.”

“Let’s not forget: the only way Rudy [Giuliani] won when he ran for mayor was by having the Republican and Liberal line,” he said.

The Liberal party lost its ballot status in 2002, when one Andrew Mark Cuomo—running for governor on its line—backed out and the party failed to get the required 50,000 votes. Candidates who collect enough signatures to appear on its line are placed at the distant corner of the ballot, next to the Rent Is Too Damn High party. (Hey, Jimmy).

Still, as Chris Bragg notes, the line would provide an option in the general election—should Mr. Catsimatidis get there by winning the GOP primary—attracting voters who are reluctant to vote for anyone in the Republican column.

“It’s how Rudy Giuliani got elected,” repeated Mr. Catsimatidis’ spokesman, Rob Ryan.

Barely an hour after the Catsimatidis campaign’s presser, fellow Republican Joe Lhota sent out a press release announcing the endorsement of Rep. Peter King and the Staten Island Republican Committee.

“Joe has the perfect combination of private and public sector management experience, but he is also a courageous leader who will ensure the city not only maintains its transformation, but continues to thrive, said Congressman King. “The city is facing serious challenges both to its public safety and to its economy, and Joe is the only person in the race who will focus on creating jobs and keeping us safe. I’m behind him one hundred percent and urge all New York City residents to join me in supporting Joe as our next mayor.”

Mr Lhota said he was honored to receive King’s endorsement, praising the congressman for his support for the city and counter-terrorism advocacy on a national level.

About the Author: Jacob Kornbluh is described as an up and coming Orthodox Jewish Blogger, writing about Local, national and Israeli politics, and a freelance reporter for various publications. Kornbluh's work has been featured in Haaretz, the NY Times, local blogs, and on local Jewish Radio, Kornbluh also covers the NYC 2013 mayoral race in general and a focus on the Jewish vote in particular at: http://nymayor.blogspot.com. Follow Jacob on Twitter @jacobkornbluh and his daily blog: jacobkornbluh.com


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