Giuliani robocalls for a Vallone and against a ‘deceptive’ Republican

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Former mayor Rudy Giuliani has recorded a robocall in Queens to make clear he's supporting the Democratic candidate, Paul Vallone, for an open City Council seat, and not the Republican challenger who has used Giuliani's name.

The Republican candidate, Dennis Saffran, a lawyer from Douglaston, notes in his campaign biography that he led a group that opposed the ACLU, and was “in support of anti-crime and quality-of-life initiatives like those of the Giuliani administration.”

Saffran’s campaign web site also features a photograph of him with Giuiani, and a 2001 quote from the mayor: “Dennis has worked together with me on many of the measures that have made New York a better and safer place to live, work, and raise our children.”

In the 30-second robocall, Giuliani says he wants to “set the record straight,” because Saffran “has been using my name and image as part of his campaign.” In the recording provided to Capital, the former mayor called the move “deceptive.”

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Giuliani also makes clear he is supporting Democrat candidate Paul Vallone, son of Peter Vallone Sr., who was speaker of the New York City Council when Giuliani was mayor in the late 1990s.

Saffran's campaign manager, David Zuniga, said in an email that "it's a shame that in politics, personal relationships can sometimes matter more than a proven record like that," and likened the race to George Pataki's victory over Mario Cuomo in 1994, when Giuliani endorsed the Democratic governor over the Republican challenger.

"As in 1994, though, voters have always been able to separate Mayor Giuliani's record of accomplishment from his quirky and sometimes weird endorsements, and we're confident that like George Pataki, Dennis will prevail on Election Day," Zuniga said.

Vallone and Saffran are running for the open City Council seat in northeast Queens' District 19, which includes Bayside and Bay Terrace. The incumbent, Republican Dan Halloran, declined to seek re-election after federal officials charged him earlier this year in a wide-ranging probe to allegedly help a Democrat secure the Republican mayoral nomination. 

In 2001, Saffran ran for this City Council seat and narrowly lost to Democrat Tony Avella. 

Vallone opposed two recent bills passed by the City Council to reform the New York Police Department, which Giuliani and others say will hamper the department's ability to fight crime. 

The robocall is a rare general election appearance for Giuliani.

He campaigned in Staten Island on Friday with the Republican mayoral nominee, Joe Lhota, who served as a deputy mayor under Giuliani. It was the first time Giuliani has been on the campaign trail since the primary.

Lhota is trailing his Democratic opponent, public advocate Bill de Blasio, by about 40 points, according to recent public opinion polls.