Whether or not Republican county leaders vote to allow Michael Bloomberg to run in their party’s primary, Tom Ognibene said they "may have a tough time sustaining the decision one way or the other."
If they block the mayor, "I think the pressure would come from state Republicans who really need financing from the mayor and who feel the mayor plays a significant role in the financial support of the party," said Ognibene, the former City Council Republican Leader and the mayor’s unsuccessful Republican challenger in 2005.
Ognibene was speaking in a brief telephone interview before Bloomberg’s meeting this morning with Republican county leaders on East 83rd Street. Already, State Senator Marty Golden of Brooklyn said it’s a "no-brainer" for Republicans to let Bloomberg into the primary. State Senator Frank Padavan said Republicans have to look past their personal feelings and consider who is best for the city, which he believes is Bloomberg.
"On the other hand, then they have the pressure from the rank-and-file Republicans who feel that they were disrespected and discarded by the mayor," said Ognibene.
Ognibene knows a little bit about what the county chairmen are going through, he said. Referring to his decision on whether or not to challenge Bloomberg, Ognibene said, "The last time I ran there was a financial offer to me of $150,000 and I turned it down."
Bloomberg supporters deny Ognibene's characterization of the offer – which was for a job paying $12,000 a month. They said they offered it to Ognibene since he was a supporter of theirs in 2001.