Barring the entrance of supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis into the mayoral race, Republican Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, who represents portions of Bay Ridge and Staten Island, plans to run for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio when he runs for re-election this fall.
Malliotakis, who has vocally opposed de Blasio’s commitment to keeping New York a sanctuary city, in direct opposition to policies enunciated by the federal government under President Donald Trump, filed with the New York State Board of Elections, registering a committee entitled Nicole for New York City on Monday, April 24, and is filing paperwork with the city’s Campaign Finance Board today.
“I’m in this race,” she told this paper. “The only way I’m getting out is if John Catsimatidis, who is a friend of mine and has much more resources, decides to get in. We are openly communicating with him and he’s going to have a decision shortly.”
To a large degree, Malliotakis said, her decision to run has been based on decisions taken by de Blasio in his first three years in office.
“I haven’t been pleased with the direction of the city under Mayor de Blasio,” Malliotakis said during a phone interview, citing a 20 percent rise in the city budget to $84 billion for the next fiscal year (compared to $70 billion in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s final year in office).
“This mayor’s answer to everything is to tax and spend, and as a result,” Malliotakis went on, “we’re seeing the cost of living increase, and property taxes and water bills climb.” Also going up, she said, are tolls and fares via the MTA, with board members appointed by de Blasio “rubber-stamping” the increases, according to Malliotakis.
That said, Malliotakis added that, in her view, despite the money spent, “We’re not seeing results. There is an epic homeless crisis and the mayor wants to open 90 homeless shelters across the city that will be rejected by neighborhoods. He wants to close Rikers and put jails across the city. I think that, dealing with people’s money, there has to be some efficiency. We can’t continue to spend, spend, spend.”
With respect to the sanctuary city issue, Malliotakis said, “I have an issue with the mayor’s policy of not complying with federal enforcement when it comes to individuals who are in the country illegally and committing crimes. Both immigrants and citizens want to be safe. We shouldn’t have a policy where you tie the hands of law enforcement should someone commit grand larceny, sex abuse, identity theft or patronize children for prostitution. The bottom line is, if we have a mayor who’s not following the law, we need to have a new mayor.”
What are her chances? According to Kings County Conservative Party Chair Jerry Kassar, “She is very favorably looked at by the Conservative Party in the city, and I believe she would have no trouble getting the Conservative nomination. She is knowledgeable on the issues, and there is a lot of interaction. She gets around. I do think there would be significant interest in the Republican Party in her; she would be a formidable candidate, and would be able to make points against the mayor in areas she is very well-versed in.”
Declared candidates for the GOP mayoral nomination to run against de Blasio (who, so far, appears to be running unopposed for the Democratic nomination) include the Reverend Michael Faulkner, real estate exec Paul Massey and Bo Dietl, a former NYPD detective and TV personality who has appeared on Fox News and Imus in the Morning.