12:00 pm Oct. 15, 2012
You may not know this, but until just now, local publisher Tom Allon has been running for mayor of New York City as a Democrat.
So he announced today that, like Michael Bloomberg before him, he has switched parties to become a Republican.
Allon also said he would run on the Liberal Party line, which sounds nice, even if the party isn't what it once was.
Standing in front of a statue of Theodore Roosevelt by the Museum of Natural History, Allon said the prospective Democratic candidates have veered too far to the left.
"Crime is up," Allon said. "Poverty is spiking up. And our graduations are only up marginally."
He said that voters have told him "they believe New York City is starting to move backwards. We have a troubled economy that is working too slowly for too many New Yorkers," and "we have a beleaguered education system that borders on chaos."
Allon also said, "I will continue the successful policies of the past two Liberal-Republican mayors."
When I asked Allon to rate the tenure of one of those liberal Republicans, Michael Bloomberg, he said, "the mayor's first eight years were successful and I think the last two years, not just because of his efforts but because of national efforts, things have gone in the wrong direction."
Allon said he would primary anyone who ran on the Republican line, even police commissioner Ray Kelly, who many Republicans hope will run but has not expressed an interest in doing so. Other possible candidates include DOE Fund founder George McDonald and billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis.
When a Times reporter asked if Allon was forced to switch parties because of his faltering poll numbers and fund-raising, he said, "This has nothing to do with fund-raising. This has to do with an evolution of my feelings. I realized this city needs centrist leadership like it's had in the last twenty years."
Later, he said, "I've been holding back on fund-raising for the past six months because I was thinking about this move and I didn't want to go to people who I was friends with, or their friends, and ask them for money if I knew I was going to make this switch. So, in earnest, my fund-raising will start today."
Allon declined repeatedly to answer a Wall Street Journal reporter's question about who he was voting for in the presidential election. "I really don't want to confuse national politics with New York politics. Who I vote for is a private thing."
Later, Allon's campaign distributed statements from the five county Republican chairmen welcoming him to the party.
UPDATE: Here are excerpts of the comments Allon's campaign distributed today:
John Catsimatidis, Republican fund-raiser and possible candidate:
"I welcome Tom into the Republican Party and look forward to working with him as we prepare for next year's city elections."
Daniel Isaacs, chairman, New York County Republican Committee:
"As the New York County GOP Chairman, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Tom Allon to the Republican Party…He is a decent and honorable man."
Jay Savino, chairman, Bronx County Republican Committee:
"I have met Tom Allon a number of times this past year and he has impressed me and my colleagues as an intelligent an thoughtful New Yorker who loves our city."
Robert Scamardella, chairman, Richmond County Republican Committee:
"Mr. Allon's Republican registration illustrates that the Republican Party will play a vital role in the Mayoral election…His is a candidacy that merits serious and thoughtful consideration."
Jack Olchin, chairman, New York Liberal Party:
"His fusion candidacy is in the great tradition of LaGuradia, Lindsay and Giuliani."