With the primaries quickly approaching, the two Republican candidates for mayor this year are both vying to breakout from a crowded field of Democratic candidates.
The issue of public safety, the reopening of NYC, and an economic crisis are all at the forefront of issues Curtis Sliwa and Fernando Mateo would have to tackle if they were elected as New York City’s next mayor. With the election coming at a pivotal time, the two candidates are looking to separate themselves from one another.
Both candidates agree that crime has become the city’s central problem and that public safety must be the next mayor’s number one priority. They attribute the high crime rate as reasons why the city leadership has failed.
“I jumped in as the law and order candidate because I not only want to refund the police, I want to hire 3,000 additional police,” said Sliwa.
Sliwa believes that the city will not be able to fully recover economically if public safety isn’t dramatically improved. Sliwa points to crime as a reason for the lack of tourism in the city.
Mateo shares the same sentiment, stating that the city needs to “take the handcuffs off of police officers,” and that “New York City has turned their back on law enforcement.” Mateo wants to refund the police as well, as well as adding in additional funds to ensure the public’s safety.
Sliwa plans on imposing a special property tax that would force Madison Square Garden, Columbia University, NYU, Rockefeller Center, and Cornell Medical all of which pay no property taxes. Sliwa would infuse those funds into the police as a way to replenish the $1 billion that was cut from the police budget.
Mateo also wants to empower small businesses to get back on their feet and ensure that they are able to thrive. Mateo would offer small businesses payroll tax breaks in the same way Amazon was offered it.
“We need to reward the risk takers not punish them. So I would make sure that all city agencies are kind and befriend small businesses,” added Mateo.
Mateo has taken issue with Sliwa’s past as an independent. Mateo frequently refers to himself as “the only Republican running in the race.” Mateo believes he is the only candidate that has a chance to win and that Sliwa has tricked the party into believing he is a Republican.
Sliwa rejects that notion and instead points to Mateo’s past as a “De Blasio Republican” for raising money for Bill De Blasio’s campaigns in the past. Sliwa will be on the ballot on the Animal Welfare Party line as well as the Republican Party line as he feels that it will help independents feel more comfortable voting for him.
While both candidates are highly critical of one another, they are in agreement that the job current mayor Bill De Blasio has done in his time in office was detrimental to the city. Both feel that De Blasio is responsible for the problems facing the city.
“Right now, we’re on life support due to Mayor De Blasio,” said Sliwa.
“Look at who’s governing. De Blasio has destroyed this city,” said Mateo
The two candidates, while underdogs in the mayoral race, still have confidence that they will be able to win and transform New York City in their vision. While the city is mostly Democratic, they both have looked back at Rudy Giulani and Michael Bloomberg’s runs as mayor as evidence that they can win.
With a little over a month to go before the the June 22 primaries, the two Republican candidates still have time to make a lasting imprint on potential voters.