Daniel L. Feldman

Posts Tagged ‘Comptroller’

Unravelling

In National Politics, New York State Politics, NYC Politics on June 15, 2012 at 10:35 am

Alan Hevesi, as Comptroller of the City of New York, served as the most influential trustee of the pension fund for New York City police officers. When the Police Benevolent Association “withdrew” their endorsement of my candidacy for Congress, they claimed that having provided it so early, they had not realized it was for Congress. They then made no endorsement in the race. Their behavior was difficult to explain, other than by hypothesizing that Hevesi engineered it.  I did not blame Hevesi for supporting Katz over me, notwithstanding my obviously superior credentials, in that I had supported Mel Miller for Speaker of the Assembly against Hevesi, and Liz Holtzman for New York City Comptroller – twice – against Hevesi. But I was convinced that Hevesi had stolen my PBA endorsement. That was dirty, and for that I did blame him.

While the New York City branch of the National Organization of Women stuck by their endorsement despite Katz’s entry into the race, based on the length and quality of my record, the State organization endorsed Katz. Whether they did so purely as a matter of gender, or whether Hevesi had some role there as well, I do not know.

Tony Genovesi had warned me, many years earlier, to make peace with Schumer. As far as I was concerned, Schumer had wronged me. In 1998, I did endorse Schumer for Senate in his primary against Mark Green and Geraldine Ferraro, because his immense popularity in his own congressional district, in which I was running, gave me no choice. But I was not and am not a person to truckle, and I would not knuckle under or pledge fealty to him when Tony suggested it, back around 1990, or thereafter. Tony owed me for supporting him against Silver, but he endorsed Weiner, no doubt at Schumer’s insistence. This meant that the thuggish Bernie Catcher and Carl Kruger, Genovesi’s lieutenants, by then respectively a political operative in Trump Towers and the successor to Don Halperin’s State Senate seat, also worked for Weiner.

Then, in July, came the really bad news. Jeff Plaut, of Global Strategies, called me. He had discovered a classic weakness in our polling data. His pollsters had infected their communications with respondents by their support for their client – me. This “infection” skewed the responses heavily in my favor, invalidating the results. Plaut offered to refund the $11,000 or so our campaign had paid him, and I accepted.  We then engaged Penn & Schoen, Doug Schoen’s highly-regarded firm. In a few weeks they had results. Dear and I were polling at about twenty percent, with Katz and Weiner polling at about twenty-five percent.  Schoen did not think it was possible for me to win the race.

At this point, I truly disagreed. With the endorsement of the New York Times and perhaps the other dailies, and with a fine Election Day operation, I thought I could still win. I expected Schumer to endorse Weiner. Schumer had called me early in the year to thank me for endorsing him and to tell me that he would not make an endorsement until late in the race – by implication, out of gratitude for my endorsement. I understood that he would ultimately endorse Weiner, and given his relationship with Weiner, this did not upset me. I knew the Schumer endorsement would help Weiner and hurt me, but I still thought I would win.

Meanwhile, Dear was spending tremendous amounts of money, actually sending CDs (which were more expensive in those days) to each likely primary voter, touting his accomplishments, such as they were. Most of his mailings, though, simply attacked each of us, although his criticisms of Weiner and Katz, perceived as more liberal than myself, were much harsher. On primary day, the Dear campaign would use its superior financial resources to send cars and buses to pick up identified Dear supporters and drive them to their polling places.

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