Mayoral candidates Paul Massey and Nicole Massey attended the Metropolitan Republican Club’s annual dinner Monday night, with each speaking separately and then doing a joint audience Q&A. Such close engagement has been very limited so far in the mayoral campaign, with Massey and Malliotakis appearing together just twice. In just one of those joint appearances, at a candidate forum hosted by the Manhattan Republican Party, did they engage before the audience.
Republican mayoral candidates Nicole Malliotakis and Paul Massey mixed it up a bit Thursday, with Massey issuing a statement critical of Malliotakis for receiving campaign contributions from Linda Sarsour. Malliotakis has recently criticized Sarsour, a Palestinian-American political activist, and demanded that CUNY rescind an invitation to Sarsour to speak at commencement. State Board of Election records show that Sarsour gave Malliotakis two contributions of $150 each, one in 2011 and one in 2012.
Malliotakis dismissed Massey’s criticism, suggesting that “he should be focusing on actually proposing something for the voters.”
“I don’t know because I haven’t read it.” That was Republican mayoral candidate and Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis’ final answer when asked whether she supports the American Health Care Act, approved Thursday by the House of Representatives. Malliotakis expressed general support for a replacement of the Affordable Care Act while emphasizing the importance of considering the precise terms of any proposed legislation. The AHCA text was released only the night before the House voted and few if any members had actually read it. I spoke with Malliotakis following her appearance Thursday night at the Metropolitan Republican Club.
Here’s what Malliotakis had to say:
The Metropolitan Republican Club, that is. Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis visited Manhattan’s Metropolitan Republican Club tonight as she continues rolling out her recently announced mayoral campaign. Speaking to an audience of 45-50 people for about 20 minutes, Malliotakis was well-received.
It was a Republican wrestling match as four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for mayor came together last night, participating in a forum hosted by the Manhattan Republican Party at the Upper East Side’s Metropolitan Republican Club. Smiling, joking and mostly making nice, they harshly attacked Mayor Bill de Blasio as the four engaged in their first group forum. They threw a few barbs at each other, and one managed to draw harsh condemnation afterwards for a comment involving Mayor de Blasio’s wife, but they mostly tried to push past each other as they sought audience and press attention.
Michel Faulkner, Nicole Malliotakis and Paul Massey are Republicans seeking their party’s nomination while Bo Dietl is a former Republican seeking a party waiver to run in the Republican primary. The forum was important for all four, but especially critical for Dietl as he seeks a Wilson-Pakula; dispensation from at least three of the GOP county chairs to run in the Republican primary. All five were present, part of an overcapacity crowd and large press contingent.
Here is the full forum, including the introductory remarks of Manhattan GOP Chairwoman Adele Malpass:
Council Member and putative Republican mayoral candidate Erich Ulrich supports holding a state constitutional convention.
The 2017 general election will present voters with a ballot question of whether to hold such a constitutional convention, often referred to as a “ConCon.” The state constitution requires that voters be presented with such a ballot question every 20 years; it was voted down in 1997 and 1977. Should voters approve a ConCon, convention delegates would be elected in the 2018 general election and the convention would convene in the spring of 2019.
Saying that there are vital changes that “weak-kneed politicians in Albany and City Hall have refused to take up,” Ulrich said that he is “wholeheartedly” in support of a convention. Should Ulrich run and make it to the general election, the ConCon could be an energizing issue in November.
We spoke with Ulrich following an appearance at the Upper East Side’s Metropolitan Republican Club.
Here’s what he had to say:
“The current mayor is failing. I’m the answer.” That was Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey as he offered a harsh analysis of the “current mayor” and displayed supreme self-confidence in his ability to correct those perceived failings.
Speaking to a packed room of about 125 people at the Upper East Side’s Metropolitan Republican Club Monday evening, Massey demonstrated strong speaking skills and a steady, friendly temperament that easily engaged his audience. He shared their disdain for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who Massey never referred to by name, but there was a meaningful gap between Massey and his audience on several issues.
Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey offered a less than full embrace of President Donald Trump. Speaking briefly after an appearance at the Metropolitan Republican Club Monday evening Massey offered only modest criticism of Trump’s recent executive order banning refugees and residents of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
On the so-called “travel ban”, Massey began with a declaration that “we’re a city of immigrants” and defended the travel ban only so far as it may address realistic security concerns around controlling entry to the U.S. He added that any such security measures should “be done with dignity and respect for everyone.” When asked his broader view of Trump’s first ten days in office Massey demurred, saying only that “I disagree with him on a bunch of policies” before pivoting to talk about the importance of a mayor “getting along with the federal government” as well as the governor of New York, and attacking Mayor de Blasio as “corrupt … divisive … incompetent.”
His lukewarm comments toward Trump separate him from his audience, which appeared enthusiastically supportive of Trump. Notably Eric Ulrich, one of Massey’s Republican mayoral rivals, is also not a strong Trump supporter. Their coolness toward Trump may be a significant element in the nascent Republican primary.
Here’s what Massey had to say:
He may despise de Blasio but Republican City Council Member, and 2017 mayoral candidate, Eric Ulrich is an unabashed supporter of a long term extension of mayoral control of the school system. Saying that mayoral control has produced “real results”, Ulrich urged Albany Republicans to provide a long term reauthorization and to not “play politics” in a way that hurts New York City children.
Describing the old Board of Education as “corrupt” and having “failed our children” Ulrich cast it as “where it belongs, on the ash heap of history.”
Here’s Ulrich responding to my question on both the broad issue of mayoral control and the proposal from the Republican leader of the state senate providing a one year extension while adding a gubernatorial oversight role. (We spoke after Ulrich’s appearance Tuesday night at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Republican Club.)
George Pataki’s not for Trump, at least for now.
Former New York governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate George Pataki expressed significant reservations about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump Tuesday night, saying that he does not endorse Trump and that he’s “still up in the air” on whether he’ll vote for Trump. Pataki was among the earliest Republican critics of Trump, condemning some of Trump’s comments in August 2015 as the two campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination. (After his own presidential campaign ended Pataki endorsed Marco Rubio and, after Rubio dropped out, John Kasich.)
During an appearance at the Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side Pataki described himself as a “loyal Republican” who wants to support the party’s nominee. Condemning Trump’s “demoniz[ation] of ethnic groups out of stupidity”, Pataki said that he will not “blindly support” Trump in the absence of a coherent political philosophy. Pataki added that he hopes to see such a coherent philosophy and that he could support Trump should that occur. When I asked Pataki afterwards why, after nearly a year of Trump campaigning, he thought it possible that Trump would change his approach Pataki replied “I have hope” rather than an expectation of that happening.
Here’s a clip of Pataki during an audience Q&A and in a brief conversation with me afterwards:
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz passed quietly through Manhattan’s Upper East Side today, attending a closed-press campaign event at the Metropolitan Republican Club. Accompanied by his wife Heidi, Cruz spent just over an hour with an audience of about 100-150 people.
Cruz has been attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio during the primary, running ads declaring that de Blasio is “tearing this City apart”, but those tears were not readily apparent on a beautiful sunny morning a short walk from de Blasio’s mayoral residence. Arriving close to 20 minutes ahead of his scheduled speaking time, Cruz’s leisurely car unloading drew a few beeping car horns and prompted a woman to get out of her car and shout for Cruz’s car to move. That slight bit of normal city friction was as dramatic as the scene became; no protesters appeared and only four identifiable members of the press witnessed Cruz’s arrival and departure. Even the few passers-by who asked what was happening expressed little interest or emotion over Cruz’s visit.
The Senator successfully ignored press questions on arrival, but was thwarted on departure as a former Republican candidate greeted him and invited a press question. After answering one question Cruz continued on his way, climbing into his waiting car and rolling across a sun-dappled 83rd Street.