In a serious blow to Adolfo Carrión’s chances of running on the GOP line, the Bronx County Republican Party is backing Joe Lhota for mayor. Mr. Lhota’s campaign announced the endorsement this afternoon with a statement that included a quote from Bronx GOP chair Jay Savino, who met with Mr. Lhota along with the rest of the county party’s executive committee Monday night.
“After an open and honest exchange it was our conclusion that Joe Lhota is the most qualified candidate in this race,” Mr. Savino said. “His proven leadership, in and outside of government, is exactly what New York City needs.”
Mr. Lhota also offered some kind words for Mr. Savino.
“I am honored to have the support of Bronx Republicans in this race and I am deeply grateful to Chairman Savino for giving me the opportunity to speak with the executive committee,” said Mr. Lhota. “I love this city and I want to see it continue to grow as it did under Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg. We simply can’t afford to go back to the days when NYC was controlled by unions and elected officials that catered to them for political support.”
Mr. Savino previously said he was backing Mr. Carrión, a former Bronx borough president, though a report also surfaced suggesting he was considering backing Republican candidate John Catsimatidis. Since Mr. Carrión, a former Democrat, is currently registered as an independent, he needs the backing of three GOP county leaders to run in the Republican mayoral primary. With Brooklyn’s GOP leader leaning towards endorsing Mr. Catsimatidis, Mr. Carrión appears to be shut out.
Though both Mr. Lhota and Mr. Catsimatidis are registered Republicans and do not need a trio of county leaders to enter the party’s primary, they have each lined up endorsements. Mr. Catsimatidis has already secured the backing of the Queens and Manhattan GOP organizations. Mr. Lhota is expected to get the endorsement of the Staten Island party.
Though he seems locked out of the Republican primary, Mr. Carrión has the endorsement of the controversial Independence Party and has vowed to run for mayor on that line even if he did not earn the Republican nomination.
Update: (8:00 PM): The Carrión campaign, in a statement below, reacted to the news of Mr. Savino’s endorsement of Mr. Lhota:
“We’ve appreciated the support that leaders of the Republican Party have expressed for Mr. Carrion, including Mr. Savino for a number of months now. The party’s process is still ongoing. For Mr. Carrion the issue has never been about endorsements. It’s about the desire of these Chairmen to open up their process, which they all still legally have the ability to do should they choose to do so. We remain of the firm belief that should the party’s internal politics prevent a more inclusive process, it would be a missed opportunity for the Republican Party to expand its base here in New York City and send an unfortunate signal to voters around the country. Mr. Carrion isn’t interested in backroom dealing. He’s interested in winning a general election. As we have stated previously, he will be running to November on the same Independence line that has helped hand the GOP victory in the past.”