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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

SI Powerbroker Drops Support of Lhota for Ignoring Phonecalls

An important lesson to political candidates: Don't ignore telephone calls and don't stop calling. It could boost or bust your campaign either way. Some times nudging for support can pay off.

In this case, either Carrion has Mazel (good luck), or Lhota really screwed up big time. Staten Island power broker Guy Molinari and GOP mayoral candidate Joe Lhota are no more buds, according to the Staten Island newspaper. Molinari has switched his support to the wannabe Republican Adolfo Carrion, paving the path for a majority among the city's county chairmen to grant him a Wilson Pekula to enter the GOP mayoral primary.

The sudden break up is attributed to non other than simple ignoring a telephone call for an entire week, according to Guy.

"It's not a campaign I want to be a part of," said Molinari, who announced his change of heart to the Staten Island Advance without notifying Lhota first.

The Lhota dustup started when Molinari made an arrangement with the Lhota camp to endorse the former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman at a press conference last Thursday at Molinari's Bay Terrace condo, but his repeated calls to the Lhota campaign to finalize the event went un-returned, and the press conference never came off. Molinari alerted the local press ahead of time about the event, which made him look foolish when it was called of without an explanation.

"What the hell is going on?" Molinari said. "They're making me look bad. I still don't have the courtesy of a stupid phone call."

Molinari said that Carrion, the former Democratic Bronx borough presidehassle is now likely to get the approval to run in the GOP primary, has continued to reach out to him, knowing Molinari was already in Lhota's corner.

"We have one man who keeps calling, while I can't get a call back from these other guys," Molinari said. "It's quite a comparison. The man I don't support is calling me all the time."

Molinari added that he didn't call Lhota to let him know of his decision to sever ties.

"They haven't called me," he said. "I'm not calling them."

Molinari added, "Now they'll probably be calling. But too late."

UPDATE I: Staten Island’s Bob Scamardella, who's support Carrion would need to get I into the GOP primaries, just told Colin Campbell of Politicker that Mr. Molinari’s endorsement-switch had not changed his likely support of Lhota.

“I can only tell you as chairman that I’m leaning towards an endorsement of Joe Lhota, and from that perspective nothing has changed,” Mr. Scarmadella said. “The most qualified for the job seems to be Joe Lhota.”

He further said he had not personally felt snubbed by the Lhota campaign.

UPDATE II: "I have the utmost respect for Guy Molinari, but to read about his announcement in the press was very surprising. As always, I wish Guy all the best," Lhota said in a statement, provided by his recently hired adviser-spokesperson, Susan del Percio.

UPDATE III: Brooklyn GOP chairman, Craig Eaton, a supporter of Carrion, told Azi Paybarah he encouraged Molinari to meet with Carrion months ago, and that Molinari came away impressed.

"He was always supportive of Adolfo until Joe Lhota threw his hat in the ring," Eaton said. "This is probably one of the most bizarre mayoral elections I've seen in decades," he added, referring to the unexpectedly large Republican field.

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