After hisa press conference on Rudy Giuliani and the presidential race in midtown yesterday, I asked former congressman and Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari about the Republican Party here in New York.
“We are struggling for survival–that’s how serious it is,” he told me.
To save it, it’s going to take “strong leadership, people that have access to money. Money is necessary to rebuild the party to where it was, and good candidates. So a lot of recruiting has to go into the future. And it can be brought back.”
But Molinari isn’t too excited about John Catsimatidis, a late addition to the Republican Party and likely 2009 mayoral candidate.
“Because the man has said repeatedly that if he can’t do anything else, that he’s going to try to get the Republican endorsement,” he said. “Sounds familiar to me. We don’t need candidates who just take us as a marriage of convenience. We still have pride.”
Molinari went on to say that too often candidates try using the Republican Party strictly for electioneering: “And once they get the nomination, that’s it. That’s the last time they talked about Republicanism. So, you’re not going to build a party by doing that. By allowing people from the outside to come and say, ‘Hey, you’re so lucky, I’m going to change my registration and run on your line.’ That doesn’t work that way. That doesn’t work that way at all.”
Rob Ryan, an advisor to Catsimatidis who I saw later in the day, told me, “John Catsimatidis has been a long-time supporter of such Republicans as George Pataki, Rudy Giuliani, Roy Goodman and Joe Bruno.”