OpinionMeister

Friday, February 11, 2005

Primary Challenge for Mayor Bloomberg?

The New York Sun reports on a brewing Republican challenge to New York May Michael Bloomberg. Link.
Last night, Queens County Republicans met to formally endorse Thomas Ognibene's renegade candidacy against Mayor Bloomberg. This marks the first official outright rebellion against the administration by the rank and file of its own party. Now speculation is spreading that the Bronx County Republicans are also considering an endorsement of Mr. Ognibene, a former City Council member.

"This is a reflection of the frustration and anger rampant in the rank and file of the Republican Party," the City Council minority leader, James Oddo, fumed in an interview with me. "It is a natural conclusion to purging the Giuliani people and bringing in all Koch retreads ... my relationship as a Republican City Council member with City Hall couldn't get any worse with a Ferrer or Miller regime." (...)

This notion that a conservative challenge to the incumbent mayor is what is necessary to drag Mr. Bloomberg back to the political center should raise the troubling possibility in City Hall that their bipartisan style of governance has not been bipartisan at all, but has in fact shown a consistent bias toward the Democratic establishment in New York City.

There is much evidence for this. "We don't have a single commissioner or deputy commissioner," complained a Queens Republican leader. In fact, the administration's first 59 judicial nominees were all Democrats. "If it's patronage, it's patronage for Democrats," protests Councilman Oddo.

What is worst for Team Bloomberg is that this was a predictable problem not adequately anticipated by administrative actions. The sense that local Republican groups have not been reached out to or treated with respect has been festering for some time.

I have not followed New York City politics much since I left there over thirty years age, but some things about Bloomberg are easy to follow through the national press. Based on national news, it appears that his main priorities are banning smoking and taxing smokers who buy out-of-state cigarettes through the Internet. Not exactly a main-stream Republican agenda. If it also is true that he mainly hires Democrats for important jobs, it sounds like he is in the wrong party.

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