By Tuan Nguyen, Jill Colvin and Mary Johnson
QUEENS — Despite speculation that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly will add his name to the list of potential candidates for the 2013 mayoral race, the NYPD's top cop on Wednesday again shot down those rumors.
“I have no plan to run for elected office,” Kelly said at the opening of a new NYPD K9 training facility in Long Island City, Queens.
Kelly, who said it has been "flattering to be spoken about," declined to respond to questions about whether he would stay on as police commissioner under the new mayor after the election.
The push for Kelly to make a run for office has come from multiple sources, including former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who told Capital New York that Kelly would be his top-choice candidate.
“They think he’s rethinking his position,” Koch told the news site on Monday. “I hope he does. He knows where I stand. I urged him, heavily, to run. He knows that if he were to run, I would support him.”
Former state GOP Chairman William Powers told the New York Post he would be courting Kelly in advance of the 2013 election.
“I will be talking to the county leaders in the city about getting behind Ray Kelly, and I think he could defeat [City Council Speaker Christine] Quinn or one of the other liberal Democrats who are looking to run,” said Powers.
“I think he’d get a lot of outer-borough support and the backing of Democrats who have voted for Rudy in the past,” he said, referring to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Former Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari also told the newspaper that Kelly has agreed to join him and various elected officials for a luncheon in the borough early next month.
"We would like to see him think more seriously about running for top office," said Molinari. "We're trying to find a candidate who could be elected on the Republican line. Very few meet that criteria. There's no one who would give us a better shot than Ray Kelly."
Kelly has come under fire recently for the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, its surveillance of Muslim organizations and Kelly’s appearance in an NYPD training film that depicted Muslims as bent on world domination.
Despite all of that, a recent Quinnipiac poll found that Kelly is riding high among New Yorkers, with a 62 percent approval rating — higher than any other city official. And early polls, including a Quinnipiac University survey conducted in October, indicated that Kelly would lead the pack of mayoral hopefuls.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he has never spoken with Kelly about a potential run for office and declined to weigh in on whether he’d vote for Kelly if the commissioner ran.
“It's no question that I think Ray Kelly had done a phenomenal job for this city," Bloomberg told reporters.
"I recruited the right guy," Bloomberg added, rattling off Kelly's previous experience in the police department and Washington. “Ray Kelly has just done an amazing job and expect him to be with me through the administration."
Currently, the pool of presumptive mayoral candidates includes former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Manhattan Media Publisher Tom Allon.
Several of them declined to comment on a potential Kelly run.
But Bill Thompson noted that Kelly has said on multiple occasions that he’s not interested in a mayoral run in 2013.
“I take him at his word,” Thompson said Tuesday.
Bill de Blasio echoed his tone.
"I've not heard from Ray Kelly that he intends to be a candidate," he said, arguing that it's soon to be speculating about 2013.
As for Kelly's performance as commissioner, de Blasio said, "I think Ray Kelly is doing a good job. We have some very serious disagreements in areas likes stop-and-frisk. But I do think he is doing a good job, and I believe he should finish out his term."