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GOP Chairs Spread Thin Over Growing Mayoral Field

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The city's Republican party leaders had been hoping to throw their weight behind a single candidate in this year's mayor's race, but as the field grows increasingly crowded, that's now looking unlikely. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

From Rudy Giuliani to Michael Bloomberg, Republicans have had a long run of success in mayoral elections. And until recently, it seemed these men, the GOP's five county leaders, were poised to pick the party's next standard bearer, whether it was former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion or supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis. But with the field growing increasingly crowded, it now appears the county leaders -- unable to coalesce around one candidate -- will leave the choice to primary voters.

"A primary is becoming more and more of a possibility and the more we discuss and think about it the more we begin to think that might be a good thing for Republicans," said Staten Island GOP Chairman Robert Scamardella.

"It would have been nice to all rally behind one candidate but since over the last four months a lot of people have jumped into the race and now we have a large group of qualified candidates," said Brooklyn GOP Chairman Craig Eaton.

That group also includes former MTA chairman Joe Lhota, a deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration; and at least two Democrats-turned-Republicans -- George McDonald, founder of the nonprofit group, the Doe Fund; and publisher Tom Allon.

All of them turned out Monday night to meet with the county leaders. Two others, Democratic state senator Malcolm Smith, who's also interested in running as a Republican, and the Reverend A.R. Bernard couldn't make it.

Carrion, a longtime Democrat who recently dropped any party affiliation, needs the county chairs to sign off in order to run on the Republican line.

"It would be very welcoming to have all five chairs say yes we want to have a competitive primary. I think it would be good for New York," Carrion said.

As for talk, some candidates might be pushed to run for other offices like public advocate, Republicans say that's premature.

"What I feel I'm prepared to do, what I'm supposed to do and what I am going to do and that's become the next mayor of the City of New York," McDonald said.

The Republican and Democratic primaries are currently scheduled for September, though there is a chance they could get moved up as early as June.

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