Morgan Pehme has a lengthy cover storyin our new issue about Queens Democratic State Sen. Malcolm Smith, and one part I found interesting was the discussion of Smith running for New York City mayor in 2013.
As unlikely that may sound in light of Smith’s current political status in the state Senate (where he’s gone from majority leader to a rank-and-file member of the minority), as well as the AEG and New Direction probes, Smith apparently is actually, really, seriously considering the notion.
When he told the Daily News in April that he was contemplating a run for mayor of New York in 2013, the notion was quickly derided as ludicrous. Doug Muzzio, a professor at the Baruch College School of Public Affairs, quipped to the News, “If he’s not joking, it’s the most absurd thing I’ve heard today. If he’s joking, it’s still absurd.”
Be that as it may, Smith was serious. A friend who didn’t wish to betray his confidence disclosed to me that as early as six months ago, Smith had floated the idea to him of running for mayor.
Even the minutest threat of a Smith mayoral run immediately gave rise to a number of conspiracy theories, alleging the true, sinister animus behind his calculation. One theory I heard often enough that I thought it worth asking Smith to address was that Smith was being encouraged to run for mayor by emissaries of Christine Quinn in an effort to cut into Bill Thompson’s vote in the African-American community.
“I’ve heard that,” said Smith, amused. “I’ve heard that Republicans are asking me. I’ve heard all kinds of rumors. I guess I’m intrigued [by] the fact that one little blurb spread that quickly, but I can tell you one thing: If I chose to get into this race, I would get into this race because I think I could do a great job as mayor of this city. End. Period.”
I’ve also been hearing for awhile from people in southeast Queens that Smith has been considering a mayoral run. Still, some more level-headed observers in the area say running for term-limited Queens Councilman Leroy Comrie’s seat (or perhaps, even swapping seats if Comrie doesn’t run for Queens borough president) seems like a more reasonable play.
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