This was what Democratic Mayor Mike Bloomberg had to say about petty petition challenges back in the day (2004):
It’s become a whole cottage industry of you don’t have to beat the other guy based on positions or your ability to serve; all you’ve got to do is beat him because you got a better lawyer who can get him thrown off the ballot. I think it’s time to end this ‘gotcha’ kind of technique where lawyers comb petitions to find some technical violation. [Emphasis mine.]
Right. Now fast-forward to 2005. Same Mayor Mike, but now with a real Republican potentially challenging him in a primary:
The Bloomberg campaign plans today to try to prevent a Republican primary for mayor by challenging the nominating petitions of Thomas V. Ognibene, the former city councilman who is seeking to run on the Republican line.
Bloomberg campaign aides said they had found problems with Mr. Ognibene’s petitions, including signatures of people ineligible to vote or not enrolled as Republicans, signatures that did not match those on voter registration cards, and incomplete forms. The flaws, they said, will most likely drop the number from the 8,116 signatures submitted to well below the 7,500 needed to qualify for the ballot.
By trying to halt a primary challenge by Mr. Ognibene, a conservative, the Bloomberg campaign is seeking to avoid not only a distracting primary battle, but also a confrontation with elements of the Republican Party who think Mr. Bloomberg is too liberal.
Hmmmm. Dare I say “flip-flop”? Ognibene’s response is priceless:
It seems that the only thing that Bloomberg isn’t willing to spend money on is a fair fight. Why participate in the democratic process when you can simply write a check, and buy it?
Indeed. Oh, and couple that with the fact that Democratic Mike is getting endorsements from NARAL and potentially not supporting President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge John G. Roberts (even Hilary is supporting the man for goodness’ sake!):
Mayor Mike will be endorsed by the New York chapter of the National Abortion Rights Action League at a 12:30 press conference at Brooklyn’s Kings County hospital, sources say.
Key question: Will Bloomberg now take a harder stance against Bush administration Supreme Court nominee John Roberts in line with NARAL’s opposition to his nomination? (Yesterday, the mayor punted, saying he’d have to examine Roberts’ record more carefully).
Could I dislike this guy any more than I already do? Is it even possible? We’ll see in the days and weeks to come…but something tells me even now, that it is more than possible, it’s likely.
PS - My brother Thomas will return to light-blogging here at The (vast) Right Wing Conspiracy soon. He has been interning at State Senator and Queens County Republican Chairman Serph Maltese’s office (the only county party head to endorse Ognibene) and has been able to meet with the Senator on an almost daily basis. We’ll ask him to share his thoughts and predictions regarding future clashes between Serph and Mike and the future of the Queens GOP.