The endorsement of GOP NYC Council candidate Dennis Saffran to run for the seat currently held by GOP Councilmember Dan Halloran by former Republican State Senator Frank Padavan may be Saffran’s political kiss of death. Consider recent political history.
The indictments of both GOP Councilmember Dan Halloran and Queens County Republican Party Vice Chairperson Vincent Tabone are just the latest chapter in the spiraling decline over the past three decades of the once-relevant Queens County GOP.
One way of judging the health of any political party is looking at the number of candidates who qualify for ballot status on their line.
Up until the 1980s, the GOP routinely qualified candidates for all Congressional, State Senate, Assembly and City Council seats.
After the 1982 reapportionment, Democrats eliminated the districts of Queens GOP Assemblymembers Rosemary Gunning, John LoPresto, John Flack, Al DelliBovi and John Esposito. Sen. Padavan voted for this plan as it protected both his and the late Senator Martin Knorr’s own gerrymandered districts. Padavan and Maltese subsequently gave away any potential chances for recapturing former GOP Queens State Assembly seats by doing the same under 1992 and 2002 reapportionments.
In 2012, there were no GOP candidates on the ballot for one of six Congressional, three of seven State Senate and 13 out of 18 state Assembly races in the general election. Watch how many Democratic City Council members will get a free pass with no GOP opponent this year.
After being elected in 1972, Padavan listed Republican-Conservative affiliations on his headquarters’ storefront. In the 1990s the Padavan and Assemblyman Doug Prescott team proudly campaigned as your local Republican/Conservative team. But Republican and Tea Party activists in 2010 were disappointed by Padavan’s campaign headquarters. There was no literature, bumper stickers, posters or lawn signs for his fellow GOP running mates.
A party’s ticket is only strong when all the candidates, from top to bottom, work as a team. Republicans are in trouble when they are afraid to identify party affiliations and campaign on their own. Other Republicans were confused with Padavan’s standard campaign theme, “Nobody Cares Like Frank,” when he obviously didn’t care about them. Both Padavan and former GOP State Senator Serf Maltese failed for decades to build a Republican brand name when they ran from it. No wonder Maltese lost in 2008 and Padavan lost in 2010.
Former GOP State Senators Frank Padavan and Serf Maltese along with NYC Councilmembers Mike Abel, Anthony Stabile, Tom Olgibene, Anthony Cuomo or Dennis Gallagher and State Assemblymember Doug Prescott time in the sun has come and gone. They collectively remain an asterisk in the political shadows and history of yesteryear.
Queens Republicans are on the way to political extinction like the dinosaurs of old! How disappointing that voters will have to look elsewhere for any alternatives to the Queens County Democratic Party machine monopoly.
The failure of Padavan to assist in building a viable Queens GOP over the past 41 years is the inheritance underdog Republican City Council candidates Dennis Saffran and current Councilmember Eric Ulrich have to live with.