Republican donors are beginning to float the idea of forming a Outside Super PAC to allow Joe Lhota's mayoral campaign overcome the financial might and electability appeal of Jon Catisimatidis within the Republican party, the NY Times reports.
As a latecomer in the race, and a likely participant in the city’s campaign finance program, which matches private donations with public funds, Lhota's disadvantages created doubts and skepticism even by his own supporters. “Joe has an uphill battle,” said Mr. Kalikow, a former owner of The New York Post. “I did tell him that.”
In interviews with the NY Times , a dozen executives expressed personal affection for Mr. Lhota but skepticism about his ability to win a general election. The executives contend that Mr. Lhota will struggle to distinguish himself given the spending limits imposed by the campaign finance program.
“Republicans in New York only win under special circumstances,” said a major developer, who has spent time in city government. “I don’t know anything that helps Lhota. There’s no crisis. The city’s not broke or torn to pieces by rioting.”
Even Mitt Romney's presidential campaign donors, who seem to be ideologically closer to Lhota, are now contributing to Christine Quinn's mayoral campaign. One of them, Ronald O. Perelman, the financier and chairman of Revlon, said Ms. Quinn and Mr. Bloomberg “made a great team.” He called her “tough, fair-minded and extremely competent.” Another Romney donor, Randy L. Levine, the president of the Yankees, who served alongside Mr. Lhota as a deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration, has given sizable contributions to both Ms. Quinn and Mr. Thompson.
Still, Mr. Lhota’s backers are leaving open the possibility of forming a Super PAC to bolster his candidacy, Michael Barbaro and Charles Bagli report. Kenneth G. Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, has pledged his financial backing. Peter S. Kalikow, the real estate investor, has cut a big check. And James S. Tisch, the chief executive of the Loews Corporation, is also on board.
Mr. Langone, who raised millions of dollars for Mr. Romney, said, “I plan to do everything I can to help Joe Lhota get elected, as long as it’s ethical and as long as it’s legal.” He called Mr. Lhota “a superb manager.”
“I worry a lot about the fiscal health of New York City,” said Mr. Tisch, the head of Loews. “As I look around at the group of people running for mayor, the person I think has the best capacity of dealing with these issues is Joe.”