Dan O’Connor Respects Ron Paul but Disputes ‘Libertarian’ Label for Himself

Dan O’Connor (Photo: NY1)

Dan O’Connor, an economist running in an uphill campaign against Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez in the Democratic primary this year, went on Inside City Hall last evening to give his pitch for why the residents of the district should elect him and his path to victory.

One interesting moment of the interview came when the host, Errol Louis, brought up whether Mr. O’Connor is ideologically libertarian, as he’s been labeled in various places online. Mr. O’Connor responded that while he “commends” Ron Paul for being anti-war and opposing corporations’ influence in politics, “I don’t know if I’d call myself a libertarian.”

However, he has repeatedly used that phrase to describe himself a few months ago, directly saying to the libertarian-oriented Reason magazine, “I want to be the first libertarian on the Democratic side of the House.”

As for the rest of the interview, Mr. O’Connor discussed his background in economics and explained that his primary basis for his electability, as he’s stressed elsewhere, is appealing to the district’s sizable Chinese-speaking community in Chinatown and Sunset Park. He speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese and has understandably spent a large chunk of his campaign campaigning in those communities.

Of course, the district’s Chinese community — while surging — isn’t that big. The Census has it as just under 20% of the district’s overall population. On the other hand, the three other contenders for the district, including the incumbent, are all Hispanic and are likely to be largely focusing on different blocs of votes than him.

As to why the incumbent should not be reelected, Mr. O’Connor brought up familiar arguments about her efficacy and fundraising practices.

“She was rated the least active Congressional Representative in all of New York State, and as I walk around the district for the past year, people don’t know who she is,” he said, adding later, “On top of that, she gets all of her campaign donations from lobbyists, big banks, and big corporations. She only got one donation from the district last year.”

Dan O’Connor Respects Ron Paul but Disputes ‘Libertarian’ Label for Himself