G.O.P. chairs shift, bluntly, from Ray Kelly to John Catsimatidis
After issuing what amounted to a plea to police commissioner Ray Kelly last week to run for mayor in 2013, New York City's Republican county chairmen now seem determined to move past that idea, and are playing up alternatives like John Catsimatidis.
"He hasn’t spoken to any of us right now,” said Craig Eaton, the Brooklyn party chairman on NY1's "Inside City Hall" last night. “His name has been thrown out there, it’s picking up some traction, but until he reaches out to us and says, ‘I’m interested, I want to talk,' there’s really nothing we can do.”
Eaton appeared with Manhattan chairman Dan Isaacs, Queens chairman Phil Ragusa, and Bronx chair Jay Savino. The only city chairman missing was Robert Scamardella from Staten Island. Earlier in the segment, while the show aired B-roll footage of the police commissioner at a press conference, the host Errol Louis, asked if Kelly had "expressed any kind of interest so far."
“Not to me,” said one chairman, his face obscured by the b-roll.
“Not to me,” said another.
“Nor I,” said Isaacs. “And I think he’s focused on doing his job, which is protecting the citizens of this city. That’s a lot more important than discussing political issues. And if and when he decides to make that decision, hopefully sooner rather than later, he will."
In recent weeks, the tabloids have run a sort of Kelly-themed draft campaign, citing his strength in polls as a hypothetical candidate and the support he has among some powerful financiers and the Republican Party.
Last night, the party chairmen highlighted other possibilities.
"John Catsimatidis is again very high on everyone’s radar, as he has himself has said, he’s in the bullpen," said Isaacs. "And he’s indicated that if Commissioner Kelly does not run, then he’s inclined to do so, and we will be blessed as a party and as citizens of this city to have someone like John Catsimatidis as our mayor.”
Ragusa said Catsimatidis is "the type of person that I think we need at City Hall.”
Savino described former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion approvingly as "a conservative Democrat,”
“And he, much like many other people, do not or cannot see the city of New York taking a step back to what it was pre-Rudy Giuliani,” said Savino.
“I think it's fair to say that before we get to starting to talk to the Adolfo Carrions of the world, we have to look in our own party first,” said Eaton. “You have [state Senator] Marty Golden for example, who’s been an elected official for close to 20 years. Doing a great job, would make a great mayor. So I keep pitching Marty Golden’s name out there, and people are excited about it.”
Tom Allon, the C.E.O. of Manhattan Media who's toyed with the idea of running as a Republican, didn't seem to rank too high on the list.
“As part of our process, what we do, our model is that we’ll sit down and meet with anyone that has interest,” said Eaton. “Tom reached out to us, I think through Chairman Isaacs, and said, ‘I want to talk to you about running for mayor.’ So we met him. And we’re willing to meet with anyone that has interest.”