Contact Us
Make My Homepage

GOP NYC Mayoral Hopefuls Spar Over Police

The Republican candidates for mayor clashed frequently Wednesday in a spirited debate punctuated by testy exchanges over the best methods for maintaining the city’s record-low crime rates.

Joe Lhota
Joe Lhota (Andy Kropa, Getty Images)

Joe Lhota, the race’s front-runner, deemed the funding for rival John Catsimaditis’ plan to station police officers in high-crime public-housing buildings as unrealistic.

“I was budget director of the City of New York,” said Lhota, a deputy mayor in former mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s administration. “Don’t make up numbers.”

When Catsimatidis, who’s bidding to become the city’s second consecutive billionaire mayor, sharply denied that claim, Lhota exclaimed, “Why are you so angry?”

“I’m not,” Catsimatidis yelled.

The debate, the first of two in the final 13 days before the primary, included longshot candidate George McDonald, who founded a non-profit organization to help homeless people find jobs.

All the Republican candidates defended the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practice, which has become a defining issue in the campaign.

The tactic’s supporters, who include independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg, believe it has driven down crime. Its critics, including all the Democratic candidates for mayor, say it discriminates against blacks and Latinos. A judge has ordered a federal monitor to oversee it.

The GOP candidates, all white, were asked what they would do if their child were stopped by police.

George McDonald
George McDonald (Taylor Hill, Getty Images)

McDonald said his son “wouldn’t be stopped” because he lives in an affluent neighborhood. Catsimatidis said he believed the tactic would soon be replaced thanks to improvements in technology.

And Lhota said his first move would be to read his daughter the court decision that justifies stop-and-frisk.

Lhota was credited with steering the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the city’s transit system, through Hurricane Sandy last fall. He immediately became the favorite — and a fundraising juggernaut — when he entered the race this year.

But Catsimatidis remains within striking distance.

In a recent Marist College survey, he trailed Lhota 33 percent to 22 percent, though the small sample size of just 132 likely Republican primary voters produced a margin of error of 8.5 percentage points. Additionally, 30 percent were undecided.

Catsimatidis, who’s worth $3 billion and owns an oil refinery and the Gristedes supermarket chain, has spent $4 million of his own money in the race and promises more. His latest ad attacks Lhota for calling Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police officers “mall cops.”

Catsimatidis and McDonald also had several verbal dust-ups, one of which prompted McDonald to quote Lloyd Bentsen from his 1988 vice presidential debate with Dan Quayle.

“I know Mike Bloomberg,” McDonald said. “Mike Bloomberg is a friend of mine. You, sir, are no Mike Bloomberg.”

Catsimatidis laughed, saying, “He’s certainly worth a lot more money than I am.”

There were a few other light moments, including when the candidates were asked if they would follow Bloomberg’s lead and serve for $1.

Lhota and McDonald quickly said no. Catsimatidis said he’d serve for 99 cents “because I’m a grocer.”

The primary is Sept 10. The general election, which will also include independent Adolfo Carrion Jr., is Nov. 5.

Among Democrats, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has opened up a significant lead, according to a new poll. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and ex-comptroller Bill Thompson are fighting for second place. Former congressman Anthony Weiner, whose support collapsed amid a sexting scandal, and Comptroller John Liu are trailing.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Best of the Web


Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://nj1015.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!