Malcolm Smith’s meeting with Republican chairmen is not an interview

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On Monday, Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith is meeting with some of the city's five Republican county chairmen to talk about his potential plan to run for mayor.

Manhattan chairman Dan Isaacs and Bronx chairman Jay Savino have both agreed to attend the meeting, with at least one more likely attendee so far unconfirmed. 

But the meeting itself does not appear to be an automatic indicator that the chairmen are seriously considering supporting Smith, who would need the blessing of three of the five chairmen to receive a waiver to run on the Republican line.

As some of the chairmen have publicly pointed out, Smith carries notable political baggage, including associations with questionable non-profits, a significant role in the Aqueduct bidding scandal, and a public promise to re-district Senate Republicans into "oblivion." (Democrats, unable to hold the majority they won in 2008, were instead at the mercy of Senate Republicans in last year's re-districting process.) 

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The Republican chairmen are still considering a number of other candidates. The Manhattan chairman, Daniel Isaacs, told me there's a room for a candidate like Smith, but probably not Smith himself.

"There's no centrist Democrat in the race, but for Tom Allon," said Isaacs, of the local newspaper publisher who has also expressed interest in the Republican line. "Senator Smith certainly has the correct positions, whether it's on stop-and-frisk and some of the other issues, and may have the right message but be the wrong messenger."

Isaacs described the meeting as something of a courtesy.

"I'm not meeting to interview him to run for mayor on the Republican line. He wanted an opportunity to explain himself, so, I said I would do so. I'm certainly not sitting down and considering offering him a Wilson-Pakula, I can tell you that," he said, referring to the legal name for the party-switching exception Smith would need from the chairmen.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, at Ricardo's Steak House on 2nd Ave., where meat, alcohol and probably cigars, will be on the menu.

UPDATE: This item has been updated to clarify that Smith will not be meeting with all five of the city's Republican chairmen.