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Mayor Michael Bloomberg has gained the endorsement of the city Independence Party at a meeting of the party’s five county executive committees. The members seemed to think Bloomberg can become the first Independent mayor of a major city with their organization leading the way.
The Independence Party, at its regular meeting in this nominating executive session, also thought choosing the incumbent mayor as its candidate would give it the capacity to reach out more to other, non−politically active Independents. Some party members believe this mayoral race is a way of working toward non−partisan elections in the city.
At this important gathering, more than 90 percent of the members voted for Bloomberg. The few who did not seemed to think the mayor in the past had not given adequate support to the city Independence Party but encouraged the party’s state organization. They also opposed his initiative on changing term limits without a citywide referendum.
There is a serious split between the state and city Independence Party, since the state has the legal authority to designate candidates for all offices except the citywide positions of mayor, public advocate and comptroller. In addition, Bloomberg needs to have authorization to run as an Independence Party candidate under the terms of the state election law, since he is not a party member.
This also needs to be voted on by the five county executive committees. The state Independence Party will be choosing its candidates for borough president and the City Council.
From 2001−05, the Independence Party increased its vote totals in the city. It hopes to do so in 2009.
Independence Queens County Chairwoman Molly Honigsfeld said, “I look forward as a county chair to leading a great campaign for Mayor Bloomberg’s re−election as an Independent.”
Turning to the Republican Party, Bloomberg and Ognibene have been competing for the Republican Party nomination. Bloomberg has now received the official endorsement of the Brooklyn and Staten Island Republican executive committees, although 25 percent of the Brooklyn organization voted against endorsing Bloomberg.
In Queens and the Bronx, however, former Council Minority Leader Ognibene recently gave speeches to their executive committees and was well−received. We will not know, however, the results until these executive committees have officially endorsed these candidates.
That leaves the Manhattan Republican organization, which may be the deciding factor in who emerges as the citywide Republican mayoral candidate. County Chairwoman Jennifer Saul has announced that when the executive committee votes for the mayoral designation in early May, it will be by secret ballot. It will not be known how committee members voted between Bloomberg and Ognibene unless they choose to make their votes known.
As we look at the political landscape, a situation seems to be developing that could be called one of the most unusual mayoral races. If Bloomberg does not get the Republican Party backing, we could be looking at a three−man race for mayor.
There will be tremendous interest in this campaign, since what happens politically in the city has an effect statewide and sometimes nationally. It will be a long, hard fight before it is over. Bloomberg is not going to have an easy campaign this year.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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