A group of powerful Republican activists and donors with experience in campaigns across the country are ready to aid fellow Republican Joe Lhota’s underdog candidacy against Bill de Blasio, if the NYS law of a $150K contribution limit is lifted.
According to the Huffington Post, New York Progress and Protection PAC say multiple would-be donors are lined up to contribute more than $150,000 each. “It’s about free speech. Free speech is the reason why I’m doing lots of things,” Shaun McCutcheon, one of those would-be donors, told HP. “It’s about our rights as people under the First Amendment.”
McCutcheon says he thinks the former head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority could pull out a surprise victory with the help of outside money. “If you get a little competition, we can win some races nobody thinks we can win,” he said.
The NYPP’s contention that New York state’s campaign contribution ceiling violates First Amendment protections will be heard in federal court on Oct. 8. Handling the legal strategy is Michael Carvin, a Washington-based attorney specializing in campaign law who represented George W. Bush during the 2000 recount. Last year, he appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court to unsuccessfully challenge the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
“This is plainly unconstitutional,” Carvin reiterated.
De Blasio’s spokesman Dan Levitan criticized the PAC’s attempts to sway the election and upend the state’s campaign finance regulations in an email to HuffPost.
“Right-wing Republican operatives are suing to dismantle New York’s election laws so they can funnel millions trying to elect Republican Joe Lhota, but New Yorkers won’t let Tea Party extremists undermine our campaign finance system,” he said.”
Speaking to reporters after a hour-long visit Tuesday at Yeshiva University in Midtown, Mr. Lhota suggested the attempt by the de Blasio campaign to paint him as a Tea-Party extremist is just not going to work. “Anyone that wants to tag me with what’s going on in Washington, is making a big mistake,” he said. “I’ve not agreed with anything the Tea Party has done – where they’re going and what the want to do – and on top of all, I’ll stand with Pete King on his position.”
And as if to prove his point, Lhota didn’t mince words in describing right-wing Republican lawmakers in Washington as “extremists who’re holding the government and the people hostage to the positions they hold.”
Mr. Lhota also said he supports “major parts” of Obamacare but that there isn’t one perfect way to deal with healthcare and it isn’t an issue in NYC. “The hangup on Obamacare, in this particular case, is wrong. Using it as leverage is wrong. And shutting down the government is wrong,” Mr. Lhota stated.
He added that he had some issues with the individual mandate but would not further discuss it before he had made up his mind on it.
Mr. de Blasio’s campaign launched a tumblr Tuesday morning, painting Lhota as an extremist and saying Lhota extolled the virtues of the right-wing ideology, telling the SI Tea Party group in May, “My philosophical issues are very close to yours in many, many ways.”
But Mr. Lhota rebuffed that claim saying, “We had a huge ‘verbally violent’ discussion about gun control and what it means in New York City. You can take selected information about a meeting that took an hour and take one sentence and pull it out. It is not fair. I can’t tell you how much I disagree, and have consistently disagreed, with the Tea Party. And I thin they are a bad force for the Republican Party. They’re extremists and are moving the party in a direction that I think is wrong.”
“If Bill wants to run this race with character assassination, it makes me even more confident that I’m going to win,” he added.
The NY Times forgot to write some things he disagreed with Barry Goldwater, such as his position on the equal rights act and race issues, Mr. Lhota further claimed.
“If Bill wants to pave me in that position and not talk about the issues that are important to the people of New York, he’s making a very big mistake. He goes into one debate and he wants to tie me with that, I will go toe to toe with him. I’ll beat him on the issues,” he said.