Yes, voters will be going to the polls soon to fill the public advocate seat vacated by Letitia James when she was elected state attorney general, which means the Guardian Angels founder and radio show host will once again throw his hat in the ring for public office.
As chairman of the New York State Reform Party, Sliwa would technically be running on that line, but since this is a special election, which means it is nonpartisan, Sliwa, like all the other candidates, won't be allowed to run on any party line.
But for all intents and purposes, the growing list of candidates for the post are primarily registered Democrats, so Sliwa will try to appeal to the Republican and Independent voters out there.
He has already been meeting with GOP leaders to try and get their support.
And he managed to secure the support of one former GOP leader, as it was announced last week that former congressman and Queens GOP chairman Bob Turner would endorse Sliwa for the job.
“No one can doubt that Curtis Sliwa would be the most effective person to hold Mayor de Blasio accountable as public advocate,” Turner said in a statement. “He is the clear choice for Republicans and Independents to bring some sanity to City Hall and prevent a complete domination by Democrats in New York next year.”
But one has to wonder if the endorsement is a nod to Sliwa, or a slap in the face on the part Turner to a political foe.
Among the lengthy list of Democrats that we highlighted last week, the only Republican name rumored to be interested in running for public advocate is Councilman Eric Ulrich of south Queens.
Until last year, Turner was the head of the Queens Republican Party before he was voted out in favor of Joann Ariola. Turner's ouster was seen by many as orchestrated by Ulrich.
There was always a struggle in the Queens GOP led by two competing factions that only intensified after longtime party chairman Phil Ragusa passed away.
Councilman Eric Ulrich led one of those factions, and naming Turner chairman in 2015 was seen by some as a concession to one of the few GOP elected officials still left in the borough.
But the relationship between Turner and Ulrich wasn't always smooth. It soured further when Ulrich bucked party leadership and endorsed Bo Dietl for mayor last year, while the party officially backed Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.
Actually, there isn't much to read into how much the rift between Turner and Ulrich played in the endorsement, as the press release announcing it gives almost as much attention to the councilman as Sliwa. Here's a paragraph from the release:
Turner called on New York City Republican to back Sliwa. Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich has cynically attempted to portray himself as the only GOP and moderate alternative to the growing field of Democrats in the race. Turner’s support is indicative of Sliwa’s appeal to hardworking and over-taxed outer-borough residents who are the backbone of the Republican Party.
Ulrich is also referred to as a “Bill de Blasio Republican” and is criticized for once calling former City Council speaker – and current candidate for public advocate! - Melissa Mark Viverito a “very fair-minded” person after voting for her for speaker.
The Sliwa campaign wonders how Ulrich can “attack” Mark Viverito after offering up such praise.
Of course, that's nothing to the praise that Sliwa heaped on Mark Viverito. In 2015, Sliwa copped on his radio show to fantasizing about having sex with Mark Viverito and said he had felt some “sexual tension” whenever he was in her presence.
He also called her “drop-dead gorgeous,” so that might make for some awkward debates!
The press release also brings up Ulrich's support of Dietl over the GOP-backed Malliotakis, which the campaign referred to as a “lack of Republican principles” that “simply aided the re-election” campaign of de Blasio.
It's clear that Sliwa is going to portray himself as the real choice for Republican voters, but in what is sure to be a low turnout for a special election at the end of February, you have to wonder if enough Republicans are going to show up to even make a difference.