Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey and Republican comptroller candidate Michel Faulkner exchanged endorsements today at a City Hall press conference. Faulkner had been a mayoral candidate competing against Massey, but announced a switch to the comptroller’s race just over a week ago. Faulkner does not currently face any other Republican comptroller candidates and he and party leaders expect that he will not have a primary. Massey currently expects to face Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis in a Republican mayoral primary.
Massey focused on Mayor de Blasio in his remarks, never mentioning his expected primary opponent, Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis. He lauded Faulkner, saying that he’s honored to received Faulkner’s endorsement and thrilled to support him. Massey also briefly mentioned his “Public Safety Agenda”, released this morning.
Faulkner, who expects to be the only Republican candidate for comptroller, began by calling today exciting and history making. Like Massey he focused on Mayor de Blasio and did not mention Massey’s expected Republican opponent. He did mention his own expected general election opponent, incumbent Comptroller Scott Stringer, attacking him as a fiscal “watchdog … who hasn’t been growling” and casting him as complicit in Mayor de Blasio’s misdeeds. Faulkner also briefly touched on several topics related to the comptroller’s office, including management of the City pension funds and oversight responsibilities, but did not address any of them in depth. He was far more fiery than Massey, describing the de Blasio administration as a “reign of terror” that operates through an “oppressive tax and spend cycle.”
Massey and Faulkner have frequently exchanged warm words while campaigning, but as competitors for the same office there’s also been friction. That friction has mostly been exhibited by Faulkner, chafing as Massey and party leaders have worked to push him out of the race in favor of the dramatically better funded Massey. Among those moments, at an April candidate forum Faulkner castigated Massey for his $4,950 contribution to Bill de Blasio in 2013. He ‘s also criticized Massey for being “just like, or very close to” de Blasio. They sought to forget that friction today, however. Faulkner smiled as I quoted a past statement to the effect that he would not vote for Massey due to Massey’s failure to support Donald Trump, but sought to move past it saying that their values and vision for New York align sufficiently to warrant support.
The exchanged endorsements were beneficial for both men. Massey, seeking to squelch Malliotakis’s recently launched candidacy, got a helpful boost in selling himself as the Party’s choice to the County organizations about to endorse mayoral candidates. Faulkner may, as a much more conservative candidate, be able to help Massey convince primary voters that he’s sufficiently conservative. Faulkner gets a helpful boost as he launches his comptroller campaign. He may also receive financial help, as Massey is a prolific campaign donor who has demonstrated the ability to raise large amounts.
Here is the full press conference. The Q&A begins at 7:40: