Last Updated: 7:43 AM, April 16, 2012
Posted: 3:17 AM, April 16, 2012
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is being courted by a top state Republican to run for mayor next year — and the city’s top cop is open to the idea, sources told The Post.
Kelly, who has come under fire for the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk and Muslim-surveillance policies, could use the City Hall post to continue driving down crime and fighting local terrorism “for another four or eight years,’’ said former state GOP Chairman William Powers, who heads the party’s newly created statewide “advisory committee.’’
While Kelly isn’t enrolled in a political party, Powers said the state Election Law would make it easy for the longtime commissioner to run as the GOP candidate.
“I will be talking to the county leaders in the city about getting behind Ray Kelly, and I think he could defeat [City Council Speaker Christine] Quinn or one of the other liberal Democrats who are looking to run,” said Powers. “I think he’d get a lot of outer-borough support and the backing of Democrats who have voted for Rudy in the past.”
Powers, who like Kelly is a former Marine, said, “Ray Kelly is a great American and a great leader, and he’s made New York City safe and he’s made America safe.”
Powers said mayoral hopefuls like Quinn are using the media to smear the commissioner over his tough-on-crime policies, “because she doesn’t want to face Kelly in the election next year.’’
“When I read the awful hatchet jobs that are being done on Ray, in The New York Times, in New York magazine, by the Associated Press, to see how he’s been treated when he’s a national hero, I know that it’s being done by the liberals who are trying to stop Ray Kelly,’’ said Powers, who played a key role in Rudy Giuliani’s victory over incumbent David Dinkins in the race for mayor in 1993.
A source close to Kelly, meanwhile, agreed that certain media outlets were trying to “dirty Ray up so he won’t run for mayor’’ by attacking his “stop and frisk’’ policyand his efforts to track potential Muslim terrorists.
But the source insisted the effort may be backfiring.
“I think Ray Kelly can be talked into running, and I wouldn’t have said that a year ago,’’ said the source.
“I think his natural inclination is not to enter the political arena, but the more that he hears people saying that we can let up, that we don’t have to worry about crime and terrorism, the more he hears the talk about a more permissive posture for the city, the more I think he could be talked into running,’’ the source continued.
Powers doesn’t think party lines alone will be enough to defeat Kelly.
“Remember,’’ Powers added, “a lot of people didn’t think Rudy could beat Dinkins because he was a Republican, and he did.’’
Mayor Bloomberg named Kelly, a native New Yorker, Vietnam combat veteran and Marine colonel, police commissioner in 2002, returning him to the post he held under Dinkins from 1992 into 1994.
Besides Quinn, other potential Democratic mayoral contenders include Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, former city Comptroller William Thompson, who came close to defeating Bloomberg in 2009, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/ray_of_hope_for_gop_in_mayor_race_YqyTOONF2wxxF3699LgY7H#ixzz1sCvTcgu8