Liz reported that the Brooklyn Republican county chairman, Craig Eaton, may succumb to a sudden burst of support for Michael Bloomberg. The Staten Island Republican county chairman, John Friscia, told me that barring some major legal intervention, he’s likely to support Bloomberg also.
So, assuming Brooklyn goes, that’s two.
With the chairmen from Queens and the Bronx speaking out strongly against Bloomberg, that leaves the Manhattan chairwoman, Jennifer Saul, as the potential deciding vote among the five city Republican county chairs to determine whether Bloomberg will be allowed to run the Republican primary.
Previously, Saul described the prospect of getting behind Bloomberg as a “tough sell.” But Manhattan is Bloomberg’s base, and Saul has a few connections to the mayor.
State Senator Marty Golden, a Bloomberg supporter, is predicting Saul and others will back the mayor.
“I applaud the Kings County Republicans for stepping up and doing the right thing for our city, and particularly Craig Eaton for his leadership,” Golden said, before adding, “I think you’ll see Manhattan go along with Kings and Richmond.”
Saul comes from the money side of politics, and wasn’t as steeped in local politics and old turf wars as some of her counterparts. One Manhattan Republican said Saul has “tremendous connections, especially as a money person,” noting she once held a fund-raiser for President Bush at her house.
This source also described Saul as a “strong Pataki person,” referring to the former Republican governor who is reportedly lobbying chairmen on Bloomberg’s behalf. Saul also worked at one point for fund-raisers Kathy Blaney and Jason Weingartner, who work at the World Trade Center memorial—which falls under Bloomberg’s auspices. (In a brief interview, Weingartner said he’s also hosted fund-raisers at Bloomberg’s house for visiting politicians. Weingartner is also the executive director of the Manahttan County Republican Organization—of which Saul is chairwoman. He told me he would recuse himself from the endorsement vote.)
Reached by phone just now, Saul declined to say if she personally supported the mayor, and said that the decision wasn’t hers solely to make.
“It’s up to my executive committee and my district leaders,” she said.
Saul said the decision whether to back Bloomberg would be up to those people, whom she hoped would get a chance to screen the mayor personally before they vote. That process, she said, is similar to what “I would do for any other candidate.”