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Republicans Consider Creating City-Wide 'Stop De Blasio' Ballot Line

By Jeff Mays | August 29, 2016 5:13pm
A "Stop de Blasio" line could make an appearance on the 2017 mayoral ballot if voters respond to a line of the same name now on the November ballot for two Upper East Side Assembly races. The city's response on the Upper East Side to a January 2014 snow storm could influence voters, Republicans hope. De Blasio in Staten Island during a January 2016 snow storm.
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Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

UPPER EAST SIDE — A "Stop de Blasio" line could feature on the 2017 mayoral ballot if voters respond to a similar one during the November election for two Upper East Side Assembly races.

"Creating a five borough 'Stop de Blasio' line is really a possibility," said Manhattan Republican Party Chair Adele Malpass.

"We know that ballot lines give people an opportunity to send a message on specific topics."

Republicans were required to collect 5 percent of the vote from the gubernatorial election from registered voters in each district to create the "Stop de Blasio" line that Republican Assembly candidates Rebecca Harary and Jon Kostakopoulos will run on in November.

They secured the 1,200 signatures needed per district to put the line on the November ballot.

Harary will challenge Democratic incumbent Dan Quart in the 73rd Assembly District where Donal Butterfield is also running on the Green Party line. Kostakopoulos is facing off against Democratic incumbent Rebecca Seawright in the 76th Assembly District. Both districts are on the Upper East Side.

In addition to appearing on the "Stop de Blasio" line, Harary will also appear on the Independence, Reform and Republican lines. Kostakopoulos will also appear on the Republican line.

"This is a spot where people like Mike Bloomberg, and they like independent people who will be an independent voice in Albany. They are ticket splitters," Malpass said.

Republican candidate for mayor Joe Lhota won both districts by double digits against Mayor Bill de Blasio in the 2013 mayoral election.

Voters on the Upper East Side may also remember how city snow plows were slow to reach the neighborhood in January 2014 during the mayor's first winter storm, said Malpass.

De Blasio later admitted "more could have been done" to help the Upper East Side during that storm. But that didn't stop some from spreading baseless conspiracy theories that the newly-elected progressive mayor who promised to focus on income equality had purposely ignored one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city.

"People still talk about the snow storm," said Malpass who also criticized de Blasio on his handling of homelessness. "This is a neighborhood that never wanted a progressive mayor and feared a progressive mayor."

It's also a neighborhood where voters may not take so kindly to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Republican presidential candidate John Kasich beat Trump in both the 73rd and 76th Assembly districts during the primary.

"If people are mad about Donald Trump, the "Stop de Blasio" line will give them an opportunity to vote for candidates who want to stop de Blasio and not pull the Republican lever," said Malpass.

"This will give people a chance to split the ticket and not be associated with Donald Trump."

The ballot line is nothing more than a "gimmick," said De Blasio campaign spokesman Dan Levitan.

“New Yorkers are interested in results, not gimmicks. Under Mayor de Blasio, crime just hit another all-time low, jobs are at record highs, the city is building and preserving affordable housing at a record pace, while graduation rates and test scores continue to improve," said Levitan.

Seawright said that "voters will not be fooled" by Republicans.

"A Republican by any other cover is still a Republican.  The mayoral election is next year, not this year," said Seawright.

Evan Thies, a political consultant who is president of Brooklyn Strategies, said the ballot line likely won't have much of an impact.

"You have to give them points for creativity but Democrats still far outnumber Republicans in those districts and the likelihood that voters in any major way are going to vote on a protest line is silly," Thies said.

De Blasio's campaign may take the threat of third party Republican lines more seriously in the 2017 election, Thies said.

"In fairly recent history Republicans have become mayor and there is a disappointment from some Democrats in the mayor's performance," Thies added.

"Republicans think they win either way because if they can demonstrate even a few hundred people voted on that line they can talk about that in 2017," he continued.

Malpass said it may only take 3,700 signatures from registered voters to create a city-wide "Stop de Blasio" line in 2017.

"It'll be a referendum on him," Malpass said.

Levitan said Republicans might want to rethink their strategy.

"If they want to run against success, good luck to them, but they might do better with ideas of their own about improving New York," he said.