Cats in the Bag
John Catsimatidis is not impressed with his ex-rival’s campaign for mayor.
The supermarket and oil magnate, who lost the Republican primary to Joe Lhota earlier this year, briefly discussed his former challenger this morning, telling Politcker he would have run a far stronger campaign against Democrat Bill de Blasio, who is dominating Mr. Lhota in the polls.
Republican Joe Lhota, fending off repeated attacks from his Democratic rival, Bill de Blasio, that he is too right-wing to become mayor of New York City, was forced to defend himself tonight after a video surfaced that showed him telling conservatives that gun permits should be easier to obtain in the city.
Former MTA Chair Joe Lhota has led each and every poll surveying the mayoral race’s GOP primary. Yet late Friday night, rival John Catsimatidis called on Mr. Lhota to “end this charade [and] drop out of the race now.”
Needless to say, Mr. Lhota did not heed Mr. Catsimatidis’s call, which was prompted by a modest fund-raising filing. But Mr. Catsimatidis, a billionaire who is self-financing his campaign, still repeated his call today.
“The whole thing is, with $157,000 for the whole month of August, where the hell are you going? Where are you going?” Mr. Catsimatidis pressed when asked about the remarks while greeting voters at a kosher supermarket in Brooklyn, which was buzzing with shoppers preparing for Rosh Hashana.
Tell us how you really feel, Joe Lhota.
The former MTA chair joined his fellow Republican candidates at a mostly-genial mayoral forum tonight, where they lobbed bombs at common enemies like their Democratic rivals and agreed on virtually all policy fronts. But the good will ended when rival John Catsimatidis said he “liked” Mr. Lhota while declaring himself the most viable contender in the race.
“You don’t show it,” Mr. Lhota groused, pointing to the flood of negative advertising recently launched by the billionaire businessman’s campaign. “You sure spend a lot of money to piss me off.”
Comptroller John Liu, known for his rapport with minority groups across the city, drew rare scorn from a predominately black crowd in Queens last night because he dared to make a joke about Anthony Weiner during a heated forum, in which the moderator at one point threatened to turn off a rival’s microphone.
“So I’ll be working day in and day out,” said Mr. Liu, describing how he planned to spend his time if elected mayor, during a forum inside a Laurelton, Queens church. “And you can rest assured at night, I’ll be resting up for the next day’s work … I certainly will not be taking pictures of myself.”
A Cup of Joe
Joe Lhota took his mayoral campaign to southwest Brooklyn today, and the first-time candidate insisted he knows what he’s doing.
“There’s an urban myth about my retail campaigning,” Mr. Lhota, a Republican, told Politicker. “I’ve campaigned not as the candidate, but out front with Rudy Giuliani in ’89 and ’93. I ran with a campaign manager for a whole bunch of people who ran for student body president in college. I understand what you need to do.”
Hey, did you hear that Congressman Pete King might run for president? If you haven’t, Mr. King wants that to change.
Hours after confirming his interest in the White House to Politicker today, Mr. King fired off an email to his supporters entitled, “Rep. Peter King Mulls 2016 Presidential Bid.” In the quick missive, Mr. King says, “Recently my name has been floated as a potential 2016 Presidential candidate … I won’t rule out a possible run.”
Mitt Romney has been quick to point out that he is not just another political lifer who knows nothing about life outside the Beltway. He’s not somebody who has spent his life far away from the realities of balance sheets and real-life decision-making. Instead, he actually has spent the bulk of his working life in the private sector—and that, he says, makes him a better choice for president than the incumbent.
Fair enough, although it’s hardly an original pitch.
The Republican Party has been on the winning side of the past five mayoral races, which means that a generation of New Yorkers has come of age without realizing that there was a time not so long ago when Republicans routinely nominated sacrificial lambs for the city’s highest elective office.
As the mayoral campaign of 2013 approaches, there are signs that the Republican Party has no desire to return to the old days, when it was a nonplayer in municipal affairs. That no doubt explains the recent chatter concerning the party’s admiration of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
News reports indicate that the GOP would be more than happy to have Mr. Kelly’s name on the top of its ticket next year. And why not?
The Republican Party’s presidential candidates may not agree on everything, but they seem unanimous about one thing: if they were prime minister of Israel, they would not have swapped more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the return of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who had been held captive by Hamas for five years before his return last week.
That’s curious, to say the least.