One longshot candidate for mayor has found a way to stand out from the crowd of big-name Democratic hopefuls — switching parties to run as a Republican.
Tom Allon, a community newspaper publisher whose holdings include Our Town, The West Side Spirit and City & State, announced this week that he wants to be the GOP nominee for mayor in 2013.
Whether Allon can be a serious contender remains to be seen. But with no other Republicans having announced, his switch to the GOP at least gives him a chance to get on the ballot as a major party nominee.
On the Democratic side, Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) is the early favorite for both the nomination and the mayoralty. But first she’ll have to get through a field of likely competitors including Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, former comptroller and losing 2009 mayoral candidate Bill Thompson Jr. and, if he can survive the scandals surrounding his campaign fundraising, Comptroller John Liu.
Allon, despite his successes in the media and in education, would have very little chance for the Democratic nomination against politicians like those, who’ve been angling for the big seat for years. Switching parties is probably his best bet.
So far, Allon is alone in announcing for the GOP. One Republican who had to say he won’t be running is none other than former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The two-term mayor, 2008 presidential aspirant, security consultant and periodic political pundit had to address the question of running again after a New York Post columnist reported hearing rumors that he might. A spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal that he’s not.
Giuliani is not completely out of politics, however. Credited by many with turning the city around, he remains a GOP icon and is still known nationwide as America’s Mayor for his stalwart leadership on and after Sept. 11, 2001 —though he’s also mocked by critics for using the events of that day as a political tool.
And even those who remember Giuliani’s tenure fondly were reminded of his errors this week when Bernard Kerik, his disgraced protege and former police commissioner, testified in a perjury trial against two associates with alleged mob ties, who are on trial for perjuring themselves in the 2006 case that eventually led to Kerik’s going to prison. He is to be released in a year.
But Republicans running for office in the city still eagerly seek Giuliani’s endorsement. In September he gave it to Councilman Eric Ulrich in the GOP primary for the 15th state Senate District, choosing him over a member of his own administration to face Democratic Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. And this week he gave it to Councilman Dan Halloran in his run for the 6th Congressional District against Democratic Assemblywoman Grace Meng.
Across the aisle, Democrats covet the endorsement of popular centrist Gov. Cuomo, who gets high ratings from both members of his party and many Republicans (the latter even more so if he ever moves forward on hydraulic fracturing). But Cuomo doesn’t endorse just any Democrat. His silence can be telling.
That’s why it was notable last week when he endorsed Addabbo for re-election, giving the senator a needed boost. The Addabbo-Ulrich race has gotten nationwide attention, with more money reportedly being spent on it than on any state Senate race in the country. Two popular candidates, each with support from outside political action committees, each with big-name endorsements — this one’s going down to the wire.
Among the more interesting press releases we get from politicians are those from Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder of the Rockaways and South Queens. But one that came out on Monday really caught our eye.
“Assemblyman Goldfeder joins 88th Brigade of the New York Guard,” the subject line read. Wow, that’s news. Phil’s putting on the uniform and entering a new realm of public service? No, it really just meant that Goldfeder had joined with the Guard, the state’s volunteer defense force, for a training session at JFK. It brought a welcome smile.
Goldfeder is out and about in the community a lot and has grown in office, unlike many Assembly members from Queens who seem to be MIA most of the time. And to his credit, and that of his aide Angelica Ottomanelli-Katz, Goldfeder’s press releases reflect a relative modesty rare among politicians — in that he’s usually not in the center of the photos his office issues. The pictures are almost never posed, and really appear more about the issue of the day than about Goldfeder himself. Many look just like the shots a news photographer would take. It’s a smart practice, and Goldfeder’s proving to be a smart lawmaker.