Ethics charges against State Senator Malcolm Smith, City Councilman Dan Halloran and several city GOP leaders were the talk of a pre-scheduled party in Midtown Wednesday night, as several of the Republican mayoral candidates said the scandal won't get in the way of their race to City Hall. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
They weren't spinning the blues at the Manhattan Republican spring fling Wednesday, but they weren't entirely celebrating either.
After all, it isn't every day that a host kicks things off by assuring guests he's not about to be arrested.
"If anyone harbors concern that there is another shoe to drop here in Manhattan, I want to take this opportunity to reassure you that there is not," said Manhattan Republican Chairman Dan Isaacs.
That shoe did drop across borough lines. Bronx and Queens Republicans are charged with accepting bribes to put Democratic state Senator Malcolm Smith on the GOP ballot during this year's mayors race.
That's left some wondering if the Republican line is essentially for sale.
"I think the mood in the room is a little bit circumspect right now, or shocked," said James McDonald, who attended Wednesday's event. "One or the other. Maybe both."
To that, party leaders used the spring fling to tell Republicans to buck up.
Top contenders Joseph Lhota and John Catsimatidis said the scandal won't derail their bids.
"We have to have people representing our citizens that are honest people, and they're not just in it to, how do you say it? Glom our money," Catsimatidis said.
Homeless advocate George McDonald is also looking for the party line.
"I'm happy to be running as an outsider," McDonald said.
The longshot may be able to distance himself better than Lhota or Catsimatidis. Catsimatidis had one of those arrested on his payroll, while Lhota had the endorsement of two others.
Lhota said he can't undo that support, but he did spin the bad news. He said that part of the scandal could have been prevented if the City Council had tighter ethics rules.
It's a slap at City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and shows that Lhota is looking past the primary.
"At this point, we are talking about people who are ripping off New York City taxpayers," Lhota said. "They need someone to go in and audit them."
As for Catsimatidis, he may speak to the hopes of a number of people in New York politics when he predicts that the controversy should all blow over soon, but with a scandal this size, that may be wishful thinking.