Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis received a third union endorsement today, as the MTA Police Benevolent Association endorsed her in a press conference at Grand Central Terminal. Malliotakis’ two other endorsements are also police unions, the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association and the New York State Troopers PBA.
MTA PBA President Mike O’Meara cast their endorsement as choosing to side with Governor Cuomo in his continuing conflict with Mayor de Blasio, saying that Malliotakis “unlike Bill de Blasio truly cares about working with our governor to fix the problems that are affecting the MTA.” He referenced the “homeless epidemic” and the untreated mental illness that many of the homeless people his members deal with on a daily basis suffer from, lauding Malliotakis as focused on addressing those issues.
The press conference was very lightly attended, with just two cameras (NYTrue.com and OAN) and two print reporters, despite being held mid-afternoon in midtown. It was one of ten appearances on Malliotakis’ schedule today and the sheer volume of appearances provides plenty of opportunities for reporters to see her, perhaps diluting interest in a press conference. ( I attended one of those other nine events, a meeting with about 20 ministers in Harlem. One other reporter attended that event, while a second reporter interviewed Malliotakis just before that appearance and observed a few minutes of her presentation.) She’s also very accommodating in providing press interviews, again perhaps diluting the demand for concentrated press conference question time. Nonentheless the low press interest five days before election day is notable.
Public polling shows Malliotakis trailing Bill de Blasio by more than forty points, and there’s not much anecdotal evidence suggesting a markedly different result Tuesday. Public interest in the race seems low and the swirl of other news, including Tuesday’s truck attack, has drawn press and public attention.
Malliotakis soldiers on however, cramming many events into her daily schedule and keeping a smile on her face at each of them. She’s had some bright spots recently, receiving a major financial boost in qualifying for matching funds and getting the endorsement of the Staten Island Advance and the NY Post, as well as turning in two good debate performances. Those moments have given her campaign a lift but have not altered the broad trajectory of the race or thwarted an evaporation of public and press interest.
As Malliotakis awaited the start of today’s 2:00 press conference a reporter shadowing her through all ten events today expressed weariness. Malliotakis smiled, clenched her fists and replied “you need energy,” adding with a positive inflection “we’re only at the halfway point on the schedule!”
Here is the full press conference: