Pataki Launches Presidential Campaign (Updated)



Pataki Speaking - Side Exeter 5-28-15Former New York governor George Pataki launched his presidential campaign Thursday in Exeter, New Hampshire.  Pataki, who’s been campaigning for months under the guise of a super Pac, joined the growing list of declared Republican candidates with a speech to about 200 supporters in Exeter’s Town Hall.  Abraham Lincoln is among the many politicians previously appearing at the 160 year old Town Hall.

Before an invited audience Pataki spoke of his small town upbringing, his election victories and time as New York governor while castigating “oppressive government.”  Noting that the Republican Party was created (or at least named) in Exeter, Pataki cast it as the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan and as “the party of the middle class” and the party of immigrants.  Or at least the party of immigrants “who come here legally.”  (Pataki’s opening included a few sentences in Spanish.)

With several invocations of September 11th, and despite declaring that America “will not be the world’s policeman,” Pataki pledged “to stand with our ally Israel”, to “stand with our allies in NATO and the free Baltic states” against Russia, to make sure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons and to destroy ISIS, using American troops if necessary.  He also included his frequent disclaimer, and seeming indirect condemnation of the Iraq war and it’s aftermath, that he “will not spend $1 trillion or a decade nation building overseas.”Pataki Speaking - Front Exeter 5-28-15

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President Pataki – An Update



IMG_1944George Pataki.  Eye roll.

George Pataki in New Hampshire.  Eyyye rolll.

George Pataki running for president.  Of the United States.  Eyyyyye rolllll.

You’re not the only one – it’s a common New York reaction as former governor George Pataki moves toward formally announcing his presidential candidacy tomorrow.

Slim chances notwithstanding, he’s been running hard for several months (via a Super PAC) and has done well for himself.  “Done well for himself” doesn’t mean that he’s remotely a leading or even close to leading candidate.  It does mean that he’s succeeded in gaining exposure with local appearances and media, and also with numerous national cable network appearances.  More people have seen or heard Pataki in the past five months than had in the prior eight years, since he left office.  (I’ve covered three of his New Hampshire trips, in January, February and April, and some of my early analyses of his candidacy and reports on his early New Hampshire visits are here and here.)

George Pataki onstage at the New Hampshire Republican Party Leadership Summit.  4/17/15
George Pataki onstage at the New Hampshire Republican Party Leadership Summit. 4/17/15

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de Blasio Visits Rockaway, Brings Money, Gets Applause



IMG_2285Mayor Bill de Blasio visited Rockaway Friday afternoon, joining the annual beach opening celebration and holding a press conference.  During his visit de Blasio announced that any surplus federal funding from the ongoing boardwalk rebuilding will be applied to other Rockaway projects.  de Blasio was well-received, with elected officials offering praise and attendees providing applause.  Elected officials joining de Blasio included Senators Joe Addabbo and James Sanders, Assembly Members Phil Goldfeder and Michele Titus, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Council Members Donovan Richards and Eric Ulrich.  Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and EDC President Kyle Kimball also joined de Blasio.  Our photo gallery is here.

de Blasio has had a bumpy relationship with many in Rockaway, particularly in the western areas of Belle Harbor and Breezy Point.  Those hard feelings were set aside Friday, however, with the combination of the festive summer beach opening and notable progress on boardwalk rebuilding.  The audience of several hundred people applauded de Blasio’s boardwalk rebuilding and funding comments, although they sat silently as de Blasio praised FEMA.  They responded to Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s request for “a round of applause for Mayor de Blasio”, prompting a smiling mayor to reply “that just shows the generosity of Queens.”IMG_2289

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Free Speech Zone



Out of sight, out of mind.  That notion applied to the few sign-holding Rockaway residents who appeared at Mayor de Blasio’s boardwalk press conference on Friday.  The four I spotted were relegated to a “free speech zone” invisible to Mayor de Blasio and most of the several hundred people in attendance.

Free Speech Zone 5/22/15

In this view from the camera riser, looking away from the lectern on the boardwalk where Mayor de Blasio spoke, the “free speech zone” is faintly visible deep in the center of the picture and close to the white trucks on Shore Front Parkway.  The “free speech zone” is also about 10-15 feet lower than the boardwalk, ensuring that the Mayor and other speakers could not see the “free speech zone”, much less the signs.

Police directed sign-holders to the “free speech zone,” despite objections.

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No More Mr. Nice Guy? (Updated)



Donovan Post-vote Gaggle 5-5-1511th Congressional District voters chose Republican/Conservative/Independence candidate Dan Donovan in Tuesdays’s special election.  Will Congressman Donovan remain the “nice guy” that many of his voters chose or adopt the Tea Party Zeitgeist of his new colleagues?

Donovan’s been in politics for 20 years, running and winning three elections for Staten Island District Attorney. He’s well known on Staten Island, especially to Republican voters who generally like him and regard him as a nice guy.  I saw that view frequently in covering the campaign.  In one instance, as I waited for a Donovan campaign appearance outside of a Staten Island grocery store, a 40-something woman headed to her car asked why I was there, cameras at the ready. Told that Donovan was expected shortly she paused and said “he knew my father. He came to my father’s wake, he’s really nice” before closing her car door and driving away.

Donovan Hindu Temple - Triple Shake

 

That nice guy persona will be tested as Donovan joins a Tea Party-driven House of Representatives. The majority of his Republican conference colleagues hold many harsher views than those expressed by Donovan throughout the campaign.  Will Donovan bend and vote with the Republican majority or proceed as a Republican outlier? Continue reading

NY11 Candidate Post-Voting Gaggles



Republican/Conservative/Independence Parties candidate Dan Donovan and Democratic/Working Families Parties candidate Vincent Gentile each voted this morning, with the press in attendance.  Each spoke with the press after voting and we have their full press gaggles.  Green Party candidate James Lane does not live in the district and is therefor not able to vote in today’s election.

Donovan:

Donovan was joined by his fiancé, Serena Stonick, in the Rosebank section of Staten Island.  Among Donovan’s comments: he voted for himself (but did not reveal which line), he’s “very optimistic”, low turnout is due to the unusual May date and not the circumstances around Michael Grimm’s resignation, he’s been “very blessed” by the voters of Staten Island and his campaign was “uplifting”.

Gentile:

Gentile voted at his alma mater, Fort Hamilton High School.  Among Gentile’s comments:  Donovan would be part of an “anti-New York City agenda” as part of the House Republican conference, Gentile knows Staten Island well from representing part of the borough during his three terms in the state senate and this is a “homecoming on Staten Island, not an introduction”, he’s a “Brooklynite” but considers himself an “adopted son” of Staten Island, the Garner case showed Dan Donovan to be “not upright” and “not an advocate” who “took a back seat” and he’s satisfied with the support he’s received from other Democratic elected officials.

Gentile On Voter Awareness



The 11th Congressional District special election tomorrow has posed a fundamental challenge for the candidates – getting voters attention and making them aware of the occurrence of the election.  With the campaign ending, I asked Democratic candidate Vincent Gentile about the level of awareness among voters he’s encountered.  We spoke as Gentile campaigned outside a grocery store in Graniteville.

Donovan On DA Elections & Special Elections



Republican candidate and three term Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan today described his three general election campaigns as similar to this congressional special election.  Donovan’s point was based on the calendar: his DA races have been in off-years (2003, 2007 and 2011) when there have been no other races to draw voters’ attention or induce them to vote.  We spoke as he knocked on doors in Dyker Heights today.