New York Republicans may have found that their next candidate for mayor is a longtime Democrat, former Bronx borough president and current Obama adminstration official. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
City councilman turned Bronx borough president turned high-ranking official in the Obama White House Adolfo Carrion was a lifelong Democrat, until now. To give himself a clearer path as he prepares a likely run for mayor, Carrion has left the party. He says it’s not such a stretch.
"Everybody has known me as a centrist and a pragmatist and somebody who cares about solutions," Carrion said.
On Wednesday night, Carrion met with the city’s Republican party leaders. Borrowing a page from the Mike Bloomberg playbook, Carrion is seeking the Republican nomination in order to avoid what’s shaping up as a very crowded Democratic primary. But because he's not a registered Republican, he needs the support of party leaders. So far, so good.
"I think that Adolfo’s a game-changer here," said Brooklyn Republican Chairman Craig Eaton.
"Of the announced candidates that are running for mayor of the City of New York, I think Adolfo Carrion, at this point, is the best candidate out there," said Bronx Republican Chairman Jay Savino.
"He’s an independent, and I think we all can coalesce behind him," Queens Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa.
Other mayoral hopefuls have also switched from Democrat to Republican, including George McDonald, head of the Doe Fund, a non-profit group, and publisher Tom Allon, who downplays Carrion's credentials.
"I don't think he had a strong track record in the Bronx. I don’t think that he had a strong track record in DC. So I’m not sure what experience or successes he’s built-he’s running on," Allon said.
Carrion touts his urban planning experience, and says he’ll build on Mayor Bloomberg’s education reforms and pro-growth policies.
"We don’t want to backslide. I grew up in the city of the 1970s, where it was dangerous, it was ugly. The city was a scary place," Carrion said.
Party leaders are not yet ready to officially endorse Carrion. They’re waiting, in part, to see if other rumored candidates, like MTA chairman Joe Lhota, enter the mix. But they say a decision will come sooner rather than later, possibly in the next couple of weeks.