Republicans now have a candidate for Mayor–Nicole Malliotakis, an Assemblywoman representing parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn. She’ll be going against Mayor Bill de Blasio in November
How’d she become the nominee?
- First, Republican leaders barred Bo Dietl, the controversial former TV commentator and private investigator, from running in the primary since he failed to register as a Republican.
- Queens City Councilman Eric Ulrich and Gristedes supermarket owner John Catsimatidis chose not to run.
- Then, real estate executive Paul Massey dropped out, after raising (and spending) over $4 million on his campaign.
- Harlem reverend and ex-Jet Michael Faulkner also dropped down to run for Comptroller.
Does she have a chance against de Blasio?
Malliotakis has an uphill battle. She’s a Republican who represents a small slice of the outer boroughs and is basically unknown to everyone else. Over the next four months, she’ll need to introduce herself to the rest of New York and convince Democrats to cross party lines to vote for her. She’ll have two big problems there:
- Money: As of May, Malliotakis raised $94,624. While she’s almost certainly raised a lot more over the last two months, that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the advertising she’ll need. By comparison, Mayor de Blasio has already raised over $4 million (that’s 46 times more). Malliotakis will need to step up the pace and it’s unclear she can do that.
- Internal Challenges: The key to winning as a Republican in New York is to unite the base and then start winning over moderate Democrats. Unfortunately for Malliotakis, she’s not going to have that easy. After declaring that she regretted voting against marriage equality (a move that a gay Democratic Assemblyman described as pandering), the state Conservative Party chairman fumed that it was “a slap in the face.” She’ll try to move to the center but it obviously won’t be seamless.
So what’s the rub? Never say never but Mayor Bill de Blasio is still far ahead and probably isn’t too worried about his Republican opponent, Nicole Malliotakis.