Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis attended a Bronx Republican Party rally Saturday, giving a pep talk to about 50 supporters at Bronx County Republican headquarters in Pelham Bay. Republican public advocate candidate J.C. Polanco and city council candidates John Cerini, Patrick Delices and Daby Carreras also participated in the rally.
Malliotakis’ presentation was almost entirely a criticism of Mayor de Blasio, beginning with a rallying cry question of whether “Bronx is ready to make Bill de Blasio a one term mayor” and ending with a harsh critique of de Blasio’s July trip to Germany the day after NYPD officer Miosotis Familia was assassinated. Characterizing New York City as a place where “everything is deteriorating” Malliotakis touched on familiar complaints: that property taxes and water bills have increased, that sex crimes have increased, that the Department of Education spends enormous amounts of money yet produces many under-prepared students while charter schools are neglected, the mentally ill are insufficiently helped by the City and the homeless are insufficiently assisted while the City spends enormously on a plan to build 90 new shelters.
Malliotakis offered little in the way of solutions during her 14 minute speech, noting that she’s issued a plan for improving the manner in which the City assists severely mentally ill persons, but otherwise remaining focused on what she sees as de Blasio’s failings. She did offer some positive news, noting that based on her most recent fundraising report she expects to qualify for campaign matching funds and receive $1.6 million from the City and that, also based on her most recent fundraising report, she qualifies for the Campaign Finance Board’s October 10th mayoral candidate debate that will include Mayor de Blasio.
Malliotakis often describes her campaign as focused on quality of life issues, but Saturday she offered a variation; that her purpose in running against de Blasio is “to hold him accountable” for the litany of failures she ascribed to him. “We’re not gonna take it anymore, are we? We’re gonna fight back November 7th” Malliotakis called out as she built toward her conclusion, closing with a criticism of the mayor going to Germany the day after the assassination of Police Officer Familia.
Malliotakis stayed for a while, taking photos and shaking hands with a couple of dozen well-wishers and posing for photos with the other candidates. Many offered assistance, inviting her to events they host, offering to volunteer or otherwise assist her campaign. It’s worth noting that the Bronx Republican Party initially endorsed Paul Massey, becoming candidate-less when Massey dropped out in late June. (Their endorsement of Massey was surprising as Malliotakis had received a very good reception in a May appearance.) The Bronx Republican Party was described as seriously considering supporting a Wilson-Pakula for Bo Dietl, following Queens County issuing a surprise endorsement in mid-July, although Chairman Mike Rendino said Saturday that that was not the case. Since that abortive Dietl effort they’ve moved to energetically support Malliotakis.
It was a good performance for Malliotakis, offering a coherent, moderately emotional speech to an interested audience, but it also encapsulates the uphill race she faces, speaking to a modest sized group of Republicans in a race that is unwinnable as a bring-out-the-base-race. The overwhelming Democratic registration advantage in the City means that any Republican hope requires a large expansion out of the Republican base and into the 900,000 registered independents and 3.4 million registered Democrats. Malliotakis does make efforts at expanding her reach, visiting some NYCHA facilities for example, but she also expends significant effort pursuing the Republican base. That’s a negative indicator of her electoral prospects, and also a reminder that rival candidate Bo Dietl has the ability to increase her challenges by drawing some of the Republican base to his independent candidacy. She can’t just ignore the base, and the prospect of Dietl taking a meaningful portion of it, but energy and message drawn to appeal to that base weigh down her efforts at connecting with Democrats and independents.
Here is Malliotakis’ full speech: