New York – Report: GOP May Run Malcolm Smith As Candidate in 2013 Mayoral Race

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    FILE -  Malcolm A. Smith Attends Remembrance Ceremony at the Police Officers MemorialNew York – The GOP may run a candidate for mayor after all. The New York Post reports (http://nyp.st/QpF8gI) that former New York State Senate Democratic Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is eyeing a run to be New York City’s next mayor.

    Smith, 55, of Queens, confirmed that he has spoken with Republican insiders, including GOP State Party Chairman Ed Cox about securing the GOP line. Independence Party chairman Frank MacKay has also been consulted. “Senator Smith would be a viable mayoral candidate. I happen to think he’s a great guy,” MacKay said.

    An African-American, Smith enjoys solid political support in Southeast Queens, but he has potential to capture voters outside of the Democratic Party because his policies on key city issues tend to be more conservative. Smith strongly supports the NYPD policy of stop-and-frisk, has fought for charter schools in opposition to the teacher’s union, and unlike his prospective opponents, he does not object to Walmart opening in the City.

    “The crime issue is front and center. And we have to maintain New York’s status as the financial capital of the world with a pro-business, pro-growth agenda,” Smith said.

    But Smith has been plagued by political missteps. The short time he served as Senate majority leader proved to be disastrous, with the Democrats once again losing control of the Senate to the Republicans. Smith has also been connected to a Queens nonprofit, New Direction Local Development Corp., which mismanaged monies that should have been directed to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Smith is also still tainted by the Aqueduct casino bid-rigging debacle.

    Still, Smith’s interest in the mayoral race may be a welcome change for conservative and moderate voters who think the present group of Democratic candidates leans too left on vital issues. If Smith runs, he will join an already crowded candidate pool which includes Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, and current Comptroller John Liu.

    New York State law allows Smith to run as a Republican without switching his Democratic Party affiliation provided he has the backing of at least three out of five of the city’s GOP county leaders.


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