Do Republicans Need to Start Winning Mayoral Races?

Last night I was at an event during the presidential election. Being in a public setting as the returns came in led to regular reminders (as if I needed any) that, politically, I’m a minority where I live and work.

I suppose being a dot of red in a sea of blue led me to spend a lot of time staring at the electoral map in some amazement. Michael Barone is quit…

  1. Cutlass

    New York City was delivered from hellhole to economic and cultural renaissance by Rudy Guliani’s conservative policies (and while Rudy is often bashed as a RINO for his moderate social positions, his ability to enact a Reaganesque fiscal agenda in a leftist city is one of the great achievements of modern conservatism).

    Alas, did this turn NYC in a a GOP town?

    Did the minorities who benefited from economic renewal and safer streets celebrate the wonders of conservative governance? Nope. They took to those cleaned up streets and called Guliani a racist.

  2. Cutlass

    Oh yeah, Bret Schundler of Jersey City:

    From Wikipedia:

    During his tenure as mayor, Schundler reduced crime, lowered property taxes, increased the city’s tax collection rate and property values, instituted medical savings accounts for city employees and privatized the management of the city’s water utility. He also led the fight to pass New Jersey’scharter school legislation. Moreover, according to a Harvard University study,[6]

     during his tenure Jersey City led the 100 largest cities in America in job growth and poverty reduction.Schundler attracted considerable national attention because he was the Republican mayor of an overwhelmingly Democratic city. During his tenure, Jersey City remained a Democratic stronghold, as it has been for over a century. Indeed, on the same night as Schundler’s special election win, Bill Clinton carried Hudson County (which includes Jersey City) by an overwhelming margin, which was enough to swing New Jersey into the Democratic column for the first time since 1964. Clinton carried Hudson County by an even larger margin in 1996. Additionally, no Republican has represented a significant portion of Jersey City in Congress in over a century, and Schundler was succeeded by a Democrat, Glenn Cunningham, in 2001.

  3. Cutlass

    So, basically, even if a conservative Republican can somehow become mayor of a major city the Democrats who live there might be happy to reap the benefits of conservative policies, but they will promptly go back to their old ways as soon as possible.

  4. Cutlass

    Sorry to post again, but your post has me nostalgically reading up on my home state….

    As a footnote, while Jersey City is still benefiting from the pro-business reforms of a conservative mayor they have followed with three Democrats since Schundler. One died in office, one was indicted for taking bribes (this was later, as an Assemblyman) and, last but not least, their current mayor has been arrested in a bar fight, convicted of obstruction of justice and attempted to bribe a police officer – all while serving as mayor.

  5. Pencilvania

    Sam Katz was a real (R) contender for mayor of Philadelphia in 2003 until John Street’s office was bugged by the FBI, and Street’s campaign manager blamed it, utterly falsely, on Katz and racism.  The campaign manager of course was David Axelrod.  There’s even a movie about it, The Shame of A City.

    How can you win against professional liars?  How did Giuliani and Schundler do it? 

  6. Cutlass

    Giuliani won by communicating directly to the people with a masterful command of facts and figures. He fearlessly hit back hard against his enemies and didn’t let attacks go unanswered. He didn’t give a [expletive] if they called him names. Man, it was a beautiful thing. Compared to Rudy in his prime, Chris Christie sounds like Mr. Rogers. 

    The problem is New York is a unique, you can’t really compare it to other cities. New Yorkers appreciate that kind of combativeness. I don’t know if that would work elsewhere. In NYC mayors have more executive power than in most places. The mayor has unique media access. Giuliani would hold daily press conferences, which the media would cover. He also had a weekly call in radio show. 

    I don’t know as much about Schundler’s style as mayor. I think he was more low key policy guy who just got results. Schundler tried to run for governor, but lost a primary to an establishment RINO.

    His last gig was as Chris Christie’s education secretary. Last I heard, Christie threw him under the bus over a typo on a rejected federal grant proposal.

  7. JACK

    You all make a good point that winning a mayoral race doesn’t guarantee it translate into Republican progress at the national stage. 

    But is that really a fait accompli?  Or does that suggest that they did what they needed to do to win a mayor race, but not what was needed to change the party leanings?

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