METRO NEWS BRIEFS: NEW YORK; Deputy Mayor Admits Shoving a ReporterA reporter, Rafael Martinez Alequin, 66, whose self-published newspaper The Free Press is often critical of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, said that Deputy Mayor Joseph J. Lhota hit him in the chest outside City Hall yesterday and referred to him with an ethnic slur. Mr. Lhota acknowledged shoving him but denied using a remark derogatory to Latinos. He said the incident had begun as he talked to a colleague yesterday outside City Hall and Mr. Alequin insisted on speaking to him. The unidentified colleague walked away just before the altercation began.''He interrupted me and shoved me and I shoved him back,'' Mr. Lhota said.
Exiting MTA boss Joseph Lhota racing against clock in possible mayoral bid, friends and foes say
Other aspirant mayors have spent months -- and even years -- hiring staff, conducting polls and raising cash. Nevertheless, the candidacy he says he's exploring is seen as highly likely.
By Celeste Katz / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Thursday, December 20, 2012, 11:24 PM
Updated: Friday, December 21, 2012, 3:15 AM
Michael Schwartz for New York Daily News
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota announces his resignation on Wednesday. He will have even less time to devote to a mayoral bid if the mayoral primaries are moved from June to September, a move being considered in Albany.
“It’s a steep, uphill battle, but people do the impossible pretty often in politics,” said Stu Loeser, Mayor Bloomberg's former press secretary, of a Lhota run.
Craig Warga/New York Daily NewsA day after MTA boss Joseph Lhota announced his resignation to explore running for mayor, supporters and opponents Thursday agreed on one point: Time is not on his side.
The other mayoral wanna-bes have spent months, and in some cases years, pulling together their campaigns by hiring staff, conducting polling and raising money.
If Lhota becomes a candidate — and most expect he will — he will have to plunge into the race at full speed from what essentially is a standing start.
He will have even less time to get his political act together if the mayoral primaries are moved to June from September, a shift now being contemplated in Albany.
“It’s extraordinarily difficult — but not impossible,” said Mayor Bloomberg’s former press secretary, Stu Loeser.
“It’s a steep, uphill battle, but people do the impossible pretty often in politics.”
Lhota’s task is made all the more difficult by the fact that he’s never run for public office before. And he’s a Republican in a town where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by a 6-to-1 margin.
Bradley Tusk, who managed Bloomberg’s 2009 campaign, said Lhota must hit at least five major milestones to win a possible GOP primary and move on to the big dance in November.
First, Tusk said, Lhota should poll to find the most convincing rationale for a candidacy, “because there’s not an obvious natural path forward for a Republican nominee, absent an issue that makes Democratic voters feel like they want to cross party lines, like crime in ’93 or 9/11 in ’01,” Tusk said.
“ ‘I can do a better job running the city’ is not enough,” he said. “What will resonate with Democrats on the upper West Side?”
Lhota has to raise money fast — and even if he can enlist the help of high-powered fund-raisers, the city’s campaign finance rules don’t make that easy.
Also imperative for Lhota, a man who recently called Bloomberg an “idiot” and once got into a shoving match with a reporter outside City Hall: Preparing himself with his own self-opposition research as his rivals and the press scrutinize his record.
Also on the “to do” list: Winning the endorsement of the Independence Party, because many of the city’s Democratic voters cannot bring themselves to vote for anyone on the Republican line, Tusk said.
Finally, Lhota’s got to convince the city’s five county GOP chairmen to back him and forget about granting independent Adolfo Carrion Jr. the pass he needs to run on the Republican line.
“You don’t want to waste a lot of money in a primary,” Tusk said, adding that a narrow win in an intra-party fight would hardly set Lhota up for victory in November.
The “draft Lhota” movement is being pushed by members of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s inner circle. But many of them “haven’t done a mayoral (campaign) in 16 years,” one strategist said.
In fact, the political pro said, Lhota might actually have a better shot at winning in four years if a Democrat gets elected and does a terrible job.
“I am amazed that someone didn’t sit down and go over this stuff (with Lhota) and if they did, (that) he’s still considering running,” the source said.