Catsimatidis says there’s a Ross Perot in the race and it’s not him
Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis thinks the impending nomination of Adolfo Carrion Jr. on the Independence Party line could help his chances in November.
"Adolfo Carrion naturally could be the Ross Perot of 2013," Catsimatidis said outside City Hall today when asked about Carrion by WNYC's Anna Sale. "That would be great, wouldn't it?"
When I asked Catsimatidis to explain what he meant, he said, "Ross Perot took 20 percent away from George Bush '41,' and we ended up with a Democratic president." He added, "Who do you think Carrion is going to hurt?"
(Bill Clinton won with 43 percent of the vote in 1992; Bush took 38 percent; and Perot got 19 percent; though the notion Perot simply pulled from Bush voters is highly debatable.)
Catsimatidis, a billionaire businessman running as a self-funding outsider, would seem to have more in common with Perot than Carrion, a former Bronx borough president. And the conventional wisdom is that a Republican candidate would greatly benefit from the Independence line, in order to overcome the party's massive registration disadvantage in New York.
But Carrion, who only recently renounced his Democratic registration after serving as director of urban affairs under President Obama, has spoken openly about becoming the city's first Hispanic mayor, which could, at least in theory, siphon traditional Democratic voters from the Democratic canidate.
The Independence Party has made no secret of its interest in Carrion, who is expected to receive the party's formal endorsement today. He's hoping to run on the Republican line too, but has yet to secure the requisite blessing of three Republican county chairs.