At a City Hall press conference Friday Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis suggested that she may cause a change in two significant endorsements received by rival candidate Paul Massey. Massey has received the endorsement of the Queens Republican Party and Staten Island Assembly Member Ron Castorina. Queens Republican Party Chairman Bob Turner was an early supporter of Massey and his Queens Republican Party endorsed Massey last week. Castorina, expected to be elected chairman of the Staten Island Republican Party soon, was the first elected official to have endorsed a Republican mayoral candidate (our report from his February 22nd endorsement is available here).
Friday I asked Malliotakis how she plans to overcome Massey’s early advantages of the two endorsements and significant fundraising. Before criticizing Massey Malliotakis addressed the endorsements, saying that “perhaps that will change now that I’m in the race.”
Turner had a clear answer today when I asked whether he or the Queens Republican organization are reconsidering their support for Massey – “no.” I called Castorina’s office and await a reply – stay tuned for an update.
Just before 5:00 the Staten Island Advance’s Anna Sanders tweeted that Castorina has rescinded his endorsement of Paul Massey and switched to supporting Nicole Malliotakis. Here’s a report from Sanders’ Advance colleague Rachel Shapiro. Assembly Castorina has not returned our phone calls seeking comment.
Paul Massey, who’s had a pretty good week with Queens County endorsing him and Michel Faulkner departing the race, avoided directly addressing Castorina’s change of heart in a statement provided by Massey spokesperson Mollie Fullington:
“Paul Massey has already secured the Independence line, broken two fundraising records, built a robust campaign infrastructure, and has a vision for this city and a proven ability to execute that vision. He is the best candidate to beat Bill de Blasio. We look forward to winning the Republican nomination and working with Assemblyman Castorina to beat Bill de Blasio in the general election.”
Here are the full statements of Assembly Members Castorina and Malliotakis:
This year is shaping up to be a great time to be a Republican in New York City. The Republican field for Mayor is grass roots, invigorating, and full of the promise of hope for a weary city. As many of you know, I was an early supporter of Paul Massey. This early support represents my commitment to reversing the damage inflicted upon the Giuliani legacy by the current administration. It is also representative of my friendship, respect, and admiration for Paul Massey.
While I remain confident in Paul’s character and ability to lead this city, a new entry to the race by a Staten Islander has caused me to pivot support in her direction. Nicole Malliotakis and I are the only two Republican representatives in the New York State Assembly from New York City; both of us Staten Islanders. We share a similar vision when it comes to protecting transparency in government and the direction that this city must have, to be successful in the 21st Century.
While each and every Republican candidate for Mayor this year would be far superior to the current administration – I can think of no other candidate to better represent the interests of Staten Islanders than a Staten Islander – and that is why as a proud and devoted Staten Islander, I support Nicole for Mayor.
“I am truly grateful and honored to have the endorsement of Ron Castorina – someone who is principled, independent and widely respected both in the New York State Assembly and across Staten Island. Working alongside Assemblyman Ron Castorina for the last year, there is perhaps nobody who knows my work ethic and passion to fight for my constituents better than he. Together we will continue to work on issues of government transparency, public safety and protecting the taxpayer’s hard earned money.”