Presidential candidate George Pataki returned to his hometown of Peekskill for a boisterous reception Sunday. About 200 people attended a rally at Peekskill’s Lincoln Depot Museum, fondly recalling Pataki’s past elections as mayor, local assembly member and senator as well as governor and proclaiming him “the next president of the United States.”
The rally may not have significant meaning in electoral terms, but the combination of reminiscing and encouragement it provided to the candidate is undoubtedly helpful. The several New Hampshire campaign appearances of Pataki’s that I’ve attended, including three last Thursday, don’t provide this type of boost. He’s generally well-received there, but his New Hampshire audiences are mostly paradigmatic New Hampshire primary voters; interested, attentive and perhaps supportive but usually committed to the idea that they are on a long term effort to meet and evaluate multiple candidates.
Former 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.”
Mayor 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.”
11th 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.
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 No More Mr. Nice Guy? (Updated)→
Donovan’s visit began in the upstairs temple area, as a Hindu priest chanted prayers and bestowed a blessing on Donovan. At the conclusion of the blessing, the priest and temple leaders wrapped a shawl around Donovan, in what they described as a sign of respect.
It was Rudy Giuliani Time today on Staten Island’s South Shore, as he swept through in support of Republican congressional candidate Dan Donovan. Greeting shoppers at a Hylan Boulevard ShopRite, visiting the NYPD’s 122nd Precinct and stopping at the Arrochar Friendship Club Giuliani was an effective surrogate, drawing attention to Donovan and to the upcoming unusual Spring election on his second visit in five days for Donovan. Our photo gallery of Giuliani’s visit is here.
For Donovan, already well-known on Staten Island, the Giuliani visits have been an effective way to connect with his base. Giuliani remains extraordinarily popular with them and using his star power to draw the base out, rather than attempting to sway non-Donovan voters, is a meaningful boost for Donovan.
Giuliani received an extremely warm reception in all three spots, with a few additional warm wishes shouted from passing cars as he and Donovan walked from the ShopRite to the 122nd Precinct. “Rudy, we need you back” drew an appreciate chuckle.
“It’s a Republican.” That was Dan Donovan’s frequent reply as he worked the crowd at the Mount Loretto Friendship Club, a senior center at the southwest corner of Staten Island on Tuesday. Sharing that, at age 58, he’s about have his first child produced excitement, some applause and a bit of befuddlement with many asking the age old question: Boy or girl?
Here is our photo gallery from New York’s most recent congressional candidate debate. The Bay Ridge Council On Aging hosted a debate this morning featuring candidates in the 11th Congressional District special election. The May 5th special election will select a successor to former Congressman Michael Grimm in a district which includes all of Staten Island and a crescent shaped slice of southwestern Brooklyn.
The debate, held at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center in Bay Ridge, included Democratic Party candidate Vincent Gentile and Green Party candidate James Lane. Republican/Conservative/Independence parties candidate Dan Donovan was invited but did not attend. His absence drew considerable condemnation from Gentile and Lane. A self-described write-in candidate, Tom Weiss, was not invited but nonetheless participated despite repeated objections from the moderator.
19 Republican presidential candidates attended a “Leadership Summit” hosted by the New Hampshire Republican Party on April 17th and 18th. We’ve produced a great photo gallery from that parade of candidates.