The GOP Ticket: Daniels?, Cox!, and Pirro

OK, most people showed up at the Manhattan Republicans’ Lincoln Day Dinner to hear Arnold joke that he’d lent Pataki his “support” — and Pataki is still wearing it!

But for geeks like us, it was an opportunity to scout out the Party‘s troubled 2006 ticket, the trio who will face Democrats Spitzer, Clinton, and whoever emerges from the Cuomo-Green-etc. bloodbath.

The likely Republican trio seems to consist of Secretary of State, and ex-Dinkins appointee (though he never served), Randy Daniels on the top, seeking the Governor’s mansion. He got warm applause at the dinner, a product perhaps of all the work he’s done with the mid-level Republican activists. Good for the dinner, not sure how many votes it’s worth. (The Dinkins name apparently doesn’t get you far in Republican circles; perhaps that’s why the years 1992 to 1995 are missing from Randy’s official bio, although his tenure as press secretary to the Prime Minister of the Bahamas does make the cut.)

Meanwhile, a well-sourced GOPer told us that the Pataki fundraising operation has begun to coalesce around a Senate candidate, Edward Cox. He’s Richard Nixon’s son-in-law, we’ve been told excitedly a couple of times, though we’re not sure which voters will consider that an asset. We did have a chance to meet him, however, and he’s a very tall, slim, courtly guy with a scratchy voice and refreshing bluntness that he’ll no doubt lose if he decides to run.

Would he take a few questions? we asked him.

“We’ve been ducking,” he replied, and turned away.

At the bottom of this ticket is by far the strongest candidate of the three, Jeanine Pirro, the Westchester District Attorney. The chatter in the room — and we somehow suspect she’s heard this argument as well — was that her otherwise quite good odds in the Attorney General’s race won’t survive the weak top of the ticket, and so she should take on Hillary. The other half of that chatter, however, is that she doesn’t buy that theory, and that she’ll be running for AG.

We asked Pirro, dressed in a pink wool skirt-suit, about her plans, and she got halfway through a standard, friendly line about how much she likes her current job before switching to her rivetingly intense spiel about sexual abuse, which is her favorite topic.

“I’m fighting for the civil confinement of sexual predators. That’s my mission,” she declared with her trademark scowl, and we would have offered a false confession on the spot, if she’d asked.