The Liberal Party endorsed Republican John Catsimatidis as its mayoral candidate, party heads announced at a press conference Tuesday.
“John Catsimatidis understands history and respects the power of a successful Republican-Liberal Party fusion in New York City electoral politic,” party chair Jack Olchin said in a statement. “In addition, John also understands the concerns and aspirations of all New Yorkers and we feel he will be a people’s Mayor just like the first Republican-Liberal Party fusion Mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia in the 1940’s.”
“A member of the Liberal Party recently described John Catsimatidis as an ‘uncommon common man,’ an individual who will speak to all New Yorkers in a language they understand; with a genuine feeling and concern for their well-being that will be recognized in every neighborhood in the city and by all of us who care about New York’s present and future,” he said.
Mr. Catsimatidis has been making the case that his status as a former Democrat and major fund-raiser for the party will help him lure Democratic voters who wouldn’t otherwise vote for a GOP candidate. The Liberal Party endorsement helps bolster his case, giving Democrats the chance to vote for him without having to vote on the GOP line.
The party, however, boasts limited power. It was stripped of its ballot-status years ago, meaning that Mr. Catsimatidis will have to collect enough signatures for the party to even appear on this fall’s ballot.
The party had previously endorsed long-shot Democrat-turned-Republican Tom Allon, who quickly dropped out of the race amid tepid support and fundraising.
“John will fill the void left by Tom Allon who was our standard bearer until his recent withdrawal from the race,” Liberal Party Executive Director Martin I. Hassner said in a statement. “The only thing we ask of John is that like Mr. Allon, he works to ensure that the Liberal Party has the signatures necessary to qualify for the November ballot.”
The Independence Party’s endorsement was critical to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2009 bid.
Mr. Catsimatidis said in a statement: “I am proud to accept the nomination of the Liberal Party and with their support and the support of the Republican Party create the coalition needed to win in November.”