Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey is having a tough time connecting with the Republican party faithful, despite some strengths as a candidate and support among the party leadership. While “masses” may overstate the 60,000 or so Republicans scattered across the city who may actually vote on primary day it’s still a sizable group that Massey will need to persuade.
There are immediately apparent similarities between Massey and Michael Bloomberg: each is a wealthy self-made man who created and ran his own business, was born and raised in the Boston area, oozes self-confidence and discipline and chose New York City mayor as his first political race. Resembling a successful well-regarded past mayor is a good starting point for a new candidate. The downside for Massey is that Bloomberg, while now ever-more highly regarded as Republicans chafe under a de Blasio administration, was never really loved by the Republican rank and file and his Bloombergesque profile, at this early stage, appears to leave many Republican Party faithful cold. The operatic Rudy Giuliani, rather than the emotionless Michael Bloomberg, is the mayor these Republicans love. Massey may be a more personable and warm version of Bloomberg, but he’s nonetheless much more Bloomberg than Giuliani.
Republican mayoral candidates Paul Massey and Michel Faulkner appeared at a candidate forum hosted by the Brooklyn Republican Committee last night. The candidates appeared separately for just under an hour each, with time allotted for a speech, questions submitted via social media, audience questions and press questions. An audience of 60-70 people listened closely, responding positively to both candidates although more enthusiastically to Faulkner.
Sitting in the audience was New York State Conservative Party Chairman and Brooklynite Mike Long. Long said that he does not yet personally support any mayoral candidate and that he was there to listen. Long also said that his party is also not yet at a decision point for selecting a mayoral candidate, adding that Massey, Faulkner and John Catsimatidis have expressed interest in receiving the party’s support.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. A day after stumbling in his initial press conference Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey tried to overcome that old saw, attempting a campaign restart with a modest piece of good news. He traveled to a far corner of Staten Island Thursday for a press conference announcing his first endorsement from an elected official, Assembly Member Ron Castorina.
Plenty. That sums up Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey’s response when asked how much of his own money he’ll put into his campaign. He’s already put a substantial amount of his own money in, but wouldn’t give any commitment or specificity on how much he’ll put in when I asked.
In his first campaign finance report, filed in mid-January, Massey reported significant fundraising of $1.6 million. He also reported spending $1.9 million, producing a net deficit of $300,000 before accounting for his personal loans to his campaign of $1.27 million. Absent a dramatic change in his already strong fundraising or in spending, Massey will need to continue providing significant personal funding for his campaign. Massey, who has previously said that he’s unable to fully fund his campaign, would only say “[w]e will never lack for resources.”
New York City’s Republican county leaders are seeking to avoid a mayoral primary by uniting behind a single candidate in the coming weeks. It’s an appealing idea to candidates and supporters, so long as they or their candidate is the chosen one, but it can pose a bit of a quandary for candidates. They’re understandably loath to publicly consider the prospect of another candidate receiving united party support and to contemplate a premature end to their candidacy.
Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey punted when I asked him about those Republican party efforts and whether he would continue his candidacy if a rival candidate receives unified party support, replying “I wouldn’t speculate on that.” There’s an added twist for Massey, who has already received the support of the New York State Independence Party, as he could readily end up on the general election ballot as the Independence Party candidate running against both a Democratic candidate and a Republican candidate. He was far more committal on that possibility, declaring “I think the answer is yes. I’m in, I’m all in.”
Here’s my exchange with Massey at a Staten Island press conference yesterday:
Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey says he supports a state constitutional convention. Massey appeared unfamiliar with the question, but expressed support after a brief description during a press conference today on Staten Island.
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.
Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey has some Staten Island roots, both personal and professional. I asked the Boston-born Manhattanite/Westchesterite about his connections to Staten Island today as he appeared in Tottenville to receive the endorsement of Assembly Member Ron Castorina.
Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey held his first press conference today, launching harsh attacks on Mayor Bill de Blasio and sparring with the press. Massey has been in a slow launch of his campaign, with a limited number of public appearances and no press conferences until today.
Speaking on the steps of City Hall, Massey read a lengthy prepared statement focused on the reported six ongoing investigations examining various actions of Mayor de Blasio and his administration. Declaring that de Blasio “is corrupt” and has “sold out New Yorkers”, Massey urged that a seventh investigation begin to examine the mayor’s plan to create a legal defense fund to pay his personal counsel and seek outside contributions for that fund. Massey said that he has written to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance calling for such an investigation.
“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:
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