THE ROAD TO CITY HALL (Part Two)
After I wrote the first part to this column, I received a call from someone claiming that I must have known Anthony Weiner was contemplating a run for mayor; prior to writing said column. I did not. Later, I heard over the radio- I think it was on WINS/1010AM- that some firm was “push-polling” for Weiner at two positions: mayor and city comptroller. To me, the implications of this new information appear to be this: Tony is seriously looking at some kind of city-wide run this year.
A “push-poll” is not the same as an objective survey. It implies a candidate is going beyond trying to gauge info, by attempting to stir up things in the voter’s mind. It is usually a test for negative campaign themes. It’s really a thinly disguised attack. And based on what these polling questions appear to ask (and counter) it is clearly an attack at the other potential candidates in this race. This is hardball folks.
What are Weiner’s chances of victory in either contest? I can’t fully say as yet since I am still mulling it through; but I do suspect he will be competitive in whichever race he chooses to enter. It won’t be easy for him though, but he should take his chances. If he runs he may get lucky and win; but if he doesn’t run he will lose any chance of returning to politics. Time is generally unkind to embarrassed politicians, and the longer Weiner takes in getting back to the political arena the less his chances of success.
Meanwhile, Bill DiBlasio announced for mayor last Sunday with a kind of whistle-stop run through the five boroughs. And yet I keep hearing something different. A few of my sources are telling me that DiBlasio’s run is contingent on whether or not he gets serious union backing from entities like UFT, TWU, 1199, DC37, 32BJ, and the Working Families political party. Many of those who are handicapping this race seem to believe that the winner (and next mayor) will be the democrat who wins the backing of a conglomeration (of sorts) of the major unions in this city.
I am being told that behind the scenes lots of stuff is happening: lots of politically intriguing stuff. Right now there are only two certain runners in the democrats’ primary. They are City Council speaker Christine Quinn and former city comptroller Bill Thompson. I am told that while all the other runners being mentioned in mainstream media appear to have contingency clauses in their contracts, both Quinn and Thompson are running come hell or high-water.
Bill Thompson is comparable to the “tortoise” in this race. He may be unglamorous, methodical, calm and steady but he is also competent. He is not glitzy but he is effective. His stint at comptroller proved that more so than his stint heading up the Board of Education. He has mucho credentials and mucho experience. I jokingly refer to him as “Mister Excitement”. However, he has a serious chance at becoming our next mayor; if only because Christine Quinn is unappetizing to many voters already.
I have been told that Comptroller John Liu will only run if the upcoming criminal trials of both his treasurer and political associate doesn’t implicate him -more than he is already implicated- in that nagging fundraising scandal. I have been told that Liu badly wants to run: since he makes history either way (win or lose) as the first Asian-American candidate for mayor of NYC. I am also told that he has assembled a true rainbow-coalition of solid supporters who are energized and highly motivated. Personally, I feel he is lucky to still be in contention even: and in all honesty I do have similar feelings relative to DiBlasio’s candidacy. Let me caution you not to undersell John Liu’s tenacity and determination.
If Bill DiBlasio doesn’t move forward, he has two fall-back options: run for Brooklyn boro prez, or stay in his present position as Public Sadvocate (the public advocate position has been a sad one since Mark Green departed). If DiBlasio stays put, then Tish James will not challenge for the job but instead she too will have a couple of fallback options. She can seek the Brooklyn boro prez job by challenging Eric Adams; or she can try to retain her council seat (the better option of course). The latter will be chaotic for all those trying to make the race for the 35th council manic district (Brooklyn). Presently there are at least four candidates here: Jesse Hamilton, Laurie Combo, Ede Fox and Olanike “Ola” Alabi. Along the way, I have also heard that Geoffrey Davis, Wendy Washington and Rene Collymore all considered running at some point. So far neither of these last three named, have filed a committee with the Campaign Finance Board. I have been informed that the others aforementioned have all done that.
In the race for Brooklyn boro prez, Eric Adams initially appeared to benefit from Dominic Recchia’s withdrawal; but hold your horses folks. There is talk that a Caribbean-American may challenge for said post. Two names are circulating: Assembly member Nick Perry is one; while the other is the venerable James Connolly. There were those who advised Tish James to seek this post long before she opted for the PA race. I suspect it’s too late for now; but you never know in this “the only game in town”.
I expect a white candidate to enter this race soon. It is possible that many of the blacks looking to run are stalking horses for later candidates to emerge. These are treacherous waters folks. As I said before, lots of funny stuff is taking place behind closed doors.
In the race for Brooklyn DA, I am being told by solid Brooklynites opposed to another term for Charles Hynes, that the two minority candidates -Abe George (who I have openly endorsed) and Kenneth Thompson- should have a sit-down face to face meeting soon. The suspicion is that if one supports the other then Hynes is history. George was first of the two to enter the race so I guess the onus is on him to reach out for such a meeting. As I said before: I think Abe George is a fine candidate.
Thompson meanwhile has been trying to land backing from prominent black electeds, including congressman Hakeem Jeffries. My spies tell me that Thompson is running out of A.R. Bernard’s Christian Life Center (Flatlands Avenue). This large church has put out candidates before folks. Its pastor/founder is even contemplating a run for mayor this year.
Congressman Jeffries is said to be supporting Chris Banks as he tackles Inez Barron in the 42nd council manic district. Inez is seeking to replace her husband (Charles) as the East New York council member. Word out of the district is that Diane Gordon -the convicted former assembly member- has now pulled out of the race. There are still about seven candidates though, and they won’t defeat Inez with such a large crowd of opponents; funny how ego always trumps common sense in these races.
I am going to make one other Brooklyn endorsement for now. I am going to endorse Robert Cornegy to replace Al Vann in the Bed-Stuy district. Robert is a serious, committed, hardworking community activist whose time has come. He is presently the male district leader of the 56th AD.
I am not going to endorse anyone against my old boss Darlene Mealy. I hope she is elected to another term -just like Bloomberg, Quinn, Barron, Dilan, Reyna, Seabrook, Sanders, Comrie, and all the others who took advantage of the immoral term-limits overturn; which enabled them to attain a third four-year term in office. Fair is fair. I know she voted with them. She will have to live with that every day after her political career is over. If they all got three terms then so should she. I don’t intend to endorse anyone who voted to overturn term limits either so I will pass on this race.
In the 40th council manic district I expect John Grant to mount a challenge to Mathieu Eugene. Eugene has been quite visible this term. Removing him will be a heavy lift given that large Haitian-American bloc of voters in this district. I suspect at least one or two other candidates will emerge before petitions are filed. Word is that neither Ricky Tulloch nor Delroy Wright will make the race.
I hear there is one potential challenger for Jumanne Williams but I am not at liberty to disclose the person’s name right now. Only time will tell what develops here.
Haitian-American activist Mercedes Narcisse is attempting to replace Lew Fidler in the 36th council manic district folks. I am told that Assembly member Maisel (not Frank Seddio) will also try to make this race. The demographics of this district has changed folks. It is very possible that a black can win this seat for the first time in the city’s history. The area includes parts of East Flatbush and parts of Carnarsie. There is a strong Haitian-American voter-base here also. Ms. Narcisse could become the second Haitian-American to the city council; unless the political powers that be in this area (by which I mean the traditional white power structure) convinces here to abandon the run. I am told that there is another black candidate trying to make the race; this could be troublesome to those who aspire towards minority-inclusion/empowerment. Vote splitting is never in the recipe for empowerment.
It’s a shame that Manny Burgos -an irregular contributor to Room Eight New York Politics writer’s colony- isn’t running for city council this year. This Puerto Rican brother has the integrity, humility, community record/involvement, knowledge, smarts, ideas and ideals usually lacking in the abundance of over-ambitious candidates trying to run for positions they shouldn’t. Burgos should be replacing Junior Dilan in the council; but he doesn’t care for all the BS and such, that comes with trying to put together a serious candidacy. At a time when there is a paucity of quality minority-candidates in the council, serious political players really need to pressure serious people like Burgos to run.
If the primary is held in June this year then we can expect things to get real hectic in February. If it is held in September expect many many more moves in this non-ending chess game of pontificating personalities, personal-agendas, political-prostitution, ploys and pusillanimous propaganda.
Back to the mayoral race: can’t we all conclude that Mayor Bloomberg gave Christine Quinn a resounding vote of “no confidence”, when he went seeking big names like Bill and Hilary Clinton to replace him? Can’t we?
I am told that the list of those to whom Bloomberg put out feelers, is long and celebrity-laden way beyond the Clintons. And he did this knowing full well Quinn had openly declared her intent to run for mayor. Plus, she had been kissing Bloomie’s ass for eons. Remember she was the architect of his immoral overturn of the term-limits referenda.
Mainstream media refuses to dig deeper into this story but it has to be a major blow to Quinn’s self-esteem and self-image. This was disloyalty at its zenith. Bloomberg is just a user and a manipulator: another typical insensitive rich buffoon who thinks the world is his friggin playground. As much as I don’t care for Quinn as mayor what he did to her here was truly horrible.
Relative to the mayoral race (again) people are asking a recurring question: where the hell is Adolfo Carrion-the former Bronx boro prez? Is he a stealth candidate? His campaign appears to be stuck in first gear. Is he really running for mayor? Word is that he has tried to secure the line of the Independence Party. Plus, word is that he is close to getting an exempt (Wilson-Pecula) to run in the Republican primary. Is he trying for the Conservative and Working Families party lines too? Maybe his strategy is to quietly put it together behind the scenes. It’s a long shot strategy but it is not impossible. I have been told that Carrion is registered as an “Independent” voter (no party affiliation). This was a major faux-pas from someone seeking to run for mayor -as he has been for many years now. Were he a registered democrat his chances of winning would have been decent.
Carrion (like all the other candidates) has to effectively articulate a middle-class vision for this naked city, in order to sway voters. I suspect the voter-turnout this year will be low: very low. People aren’t enthused about this mayoral race as in years gone by. I know. I have been around since 1973. Look; it is still early, but some candidate better come along and excite the electorate, or this is going to be one boring silly season.
Here are my latest odds for the mayoral race: Please note that only the top eight (present) contenders are listed here, for both major parties:
Christine Quinn 2-1
Bill Thompson 7-2
John Liu 6-1 (conditional candidate)
Anthony Weiner 10-1 (candidacy uncertain)*
Bill DiBlasio 12-1 (conditional candidate)
Sal Albanese 50-1
Kevin Coenen 100-1
Christopher Ward 100-1.
*However this candidate has the most potential for a drop in odds here.
REPUBLICAN’S PRIMARY (in alphabetical order):
Tom Allon 33-1
A.R. Bernard 10-1 (candidacy uncertain)
Adolfo Carrion 5-1
John Catsimatidis 33-1
Martin Golden 8-1 (candidacy uncertain)
Joseph Lhota 8-5
George McDonald 33-1
Malcolm Smith 25-1 (candidacy uncertain).
When all the dust clears I expect a democrat will finally run City hall for the first time in 20 years. Thus I must caution you the odds posted here are only relative to the respective primary elections.
PLEASE NOTE: In my last column I called on NYC voters to pressure these candidates for a “renter’s rebate” provision to be enshrined in the city’s tax codes. It is an idea whose time has come. Let’s make that a “movement”. More than half the working folks in this city are paying more than half their incomes in rent. If property owners can get tax breaks for their mortgage interests and other property-related expenses, then it is only fair for renters to be considered for some type of needed financial relief.
Stay tuned-in folks.