The Passing of Fioravante Perrotta

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There is more to the recent passing of Fioravante Perrotta, who held various positions working for both Republican Mayor John Lindsay and Governor Nelson Rockefeller. He ran on the Republican and Liberal party lines in 1969 for NYC Comptroller losing a close race to Democrat Abe Beame. This was a fusion ticket with John Lindsay for mayor, after losing the Republican party primary to Staten Island State Senator John Marchi, won a three way race against Marchi and Democrat NYC Comptroller Mario Procaccino. Along with Sanford Garelick, a registered Democrat, running for City Council President with Lindsay. Garelick won on the Republican and Liberal party lines. It was a time from the 1960s to 1970s, when Republicans were far more successful than today’s GOP in winning public offices both within NYC and statewide.

New York had Republicans Nelson Rockefeller as governor, Louis Lefkowitz as attorney general, Jacob Javits and James L. Buckley as Senators, a majority of the Congressional delegation, control of the State Senate by a healthy margin and competitive numbers in the State Assembly. There were major setbacks after the Johnson landslide over Goldwater in the 1964 presidential elections and the Watergate 1972 scandal. While this gave Democrats significant gains in the 1974 elections, the GOP bounced back. Republicans statewide held many public offices. They also remained competitive in many NYC neighborhoods. At different times during those decades, NYC had Republican Borough Presidents Joseph Perriconi (Bronx) and Robert Connor (Staten Island), Congress members Paul Fino (Bronx), John Lindsay (Manhattan), Sy Halperin (Queens) along with GOP State Senators and Assemblymembers elected from all five boroughs.

Perrotta running with Lindsay came very close to beating Democrat Abe Beame for NYC Comptroller. After 1969, the last effective GOP challenger for NYC Comptroller was businessman Richard Bernstein, who ran with former Mayor Ed Koch in 1981. This also applies to former Brooklyn Democratic Assemblymember Jules Polenetsky who ran for public advocate with former GOP Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 1997. This office was created after abolishment of the old NYC Board of Estimate which included the offices City Council President and five Borough Presidents. The last Republican NYC Council President Sanford Garelick won in 1969. The last Republican NYC Comptroller was Joseph D. McGoldrick who served from 1938 to 1945.

Fast forward to today. Democrats currently hold all statewide offices. They have an overwhelming statewide enrollment advantage outnumbering Republicans by 2,821,021 voters. There are 5,649,934 registered Democrats versus 2,828,913 Republicans. The last Republican Senator was Alfonse D’Amato. He lost his seat to Democrat Charles Schumer in 1998. The last Republican state comptroller, Ned Regan, won his final term in 1990. The last Republican state attorney general, Dennis Vacco, served only one term winning in 1994. The last Republican to win any statewide office was former Governor George Pataki. His final term began in 2002. Democrats control an overwhelming majority of both the Congressional delegation and State Assembly. With gerrymandering, Republicans are barely holding on to controlling the State Senate. In NYC, the last GOP Congressmember Michael Grimm 13th CD (not counting Brooklyn/Queens Bob Turner who 9th CD was eliminated in reapportionment), State Senators Andrew Lanza (24thSD) and Marty Golden (22ndSD) along with Assemblymembers Nicole Malliatokis (60thAD) and Lou Tobacco (62nd AD) represent either Staten Island and or Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Democrats hold or can run competitive races for public office on the town, county, state and federal level in most formerly Republican strongholds on Long Island and upstate New York. Contrast that with Republicans who are unable to either find candidates to run or just qualify a candidate for ballot status. They have no money to run a credible campaign for public office in most NYC neighborhoods.

Perrotta represented the golden era for Republicans on the city and state level.