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Eric Adams to officially jump into NYC mayor’s race

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Eric Adams to officially jump into NYC mayor's race

In an interview Tuesday, Adams said his campaign will zero in on public safety and reinvigorating the economy — issues that highlight his perceived strengths as well as the ideological gulf between him and left-leaning Democrats who have been racking up legislative wins across the city in recent years.

“We have to get our economy up and running, and feeling safe to get on our subway system is crucial,” Adams said. “My business communities, they have to open up again. If I don’t have that accountant inside that office, then they’re not going down to the local deli, they’re not going down to the Dunkin’ Donuts.”

“The unskilled, uneducated — they have to get back to work, and we have to do that by really opening up our economy again,” he added.

He criticized the city’s decision to close schools when the Covid-19 positivity rate reaches a 7-day average of 3 percent, saying they are “probably the safest place for our children at this time.”

Adams comes to the campaign from eight years as borough president, a role that lacks the heft of jobs held by many of his competitors. Scott Stringer is the city comptroller; Maya Wiley served as de Blasio’s lead attorney; Ray McGuire was an executive at Citigroup until he left to explore a mayoral bid; Kathryn Garcia and Loree Sutton ran agencies under de Blasio; Shaun Donovan held high-ranking positions in the Bloomberg and Obama administrations; and Dianne Morales oversaw a large nonprofit.

Opponents will grouse that Adams lacks the managerial experience he professes the city needs, and some will say his 22 years in the NYPD — 1984 through 2006 — make him ill-suited to a moment of national reckoning with policing and race. “He’s built a glass house of management-speak and given out rocks to the neighbors,” one person working for an opposing campaign said.

But Adams has life experiences many New Yorkers can relate to.

He and five siblings were raised by a single mother who cleaned houses. They often worried about paying rent and buying food. At the age of 15, he was arrested on a trespassing charge and then beaten by police while he sat in a precinct house in South Jamaica, Queens, he said.

“I’m potentially the first blue collar mayor,” he said. “My nails are not manicured, they’re chipped up.”

He rose through the ranks as a police officer in the high-crime era of the 1980s and 1990s, beginning as a transit cop and retiring as a captain before becoming a state senator in 2007. He also founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement to protest the mayoral policies of Rudy Giuliani, a Republican and former prosecutor elected in 1993.

Adams separated himself from calls for sweeping NYPD reforms by Stringer, Morales and Wiley, who chaired de Blasio’s police accountability panel. Rather than shift low-level cops tasked with responding to traffic accidents, mentally ill homeless people and school safety incidents to other agencies, he said they should be promoted within the department if they show promise. That would help diversify the agency and ensure officers have better track records in resolving conflict, he said.

After learning he had developed diabetes a few years ago, Adams changed his eating habits and credits a plant-based diet and exercise with reversing his diagnosis. He has since become an evangelist for a healthy lifestyle.

Adams and Stringer are currently leading the pack in fundraising, with more than $2 million each in their campaign accounts. Both have taken money from real estate executives, though Stringer has recently jumped on the anti-development bandwagon and said he will stop taking their contributions.

When asked about such donations at a recent mayoral forum, Adams declared, “I own a small property so I am real estate also.”

Among Adams’ donors is Frank Carone, a lawyer affiliated with the Brooklyn Democratic Party, which is likely to back Adams in the primary. The importance of that type of support is waning as upstart campaigns across the city continue defeating incumbents.

Nevertheless, Brooklyn voters turn out in disproportionately high numbers, which Adams’ team believes will help him at the polls next year. In the last mayor’s race, for instance, 358,085 ballots were cast in Brooklyn, compared to 286,130 in Queens and 272,080 in Manhattan.

As borough president, Adams has shown a knack for grabbing headlines with quirky behavior and occasionally incendiary speech.

During the early days of the pandemic, he began living out of his office in borough hall, inviting a TV crew to film him lying on an unmade mattress. At a Martin Luther King Jr. event in January he commanded gentrifiers, “Go back to Iowa. You go back to Ohio!”

And last year he ladeled out servings of liquid surrounding drowned rats in a demonstration about ridding the city of rodents. “We were promised dead rats, and goddamn did we get them,” a local reporter wrote at the time.

Following the deadly shooting inside a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, Adams said police officers should bring their firearms to houses of worship. He more recently said he would carry a gun if elected mayor. On Tuesday he said he would bring it with him if he felt he was in danger, and he would opt for a smaller police detail than past mayors.

“We’re at a time now where we need a mayor who has gone through a lot to understand people who are going through a lot,” he said. “The city is ready for me.”

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A Reaganesque Scheme for a GOP Reboot

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A Reaganesque Scheme for a GOP Reboot

If the party is going to survive Trump, it needs to cut the extremists loose and craft a broader message. Here’s how that succeeded before.

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Trump blows up the Arizona GOP on his way out

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Trump blows up the Arizona GOP on his way out

“The craziness from the state Republican Party … it’s pretty embarrassing,” said Kirk Adams, a former Republican state House speaker and former chief of staff to Ducey. “We have been fed a steady diet of conspiracy theories and stolen election rhetoric and, really, QAnon theories from the state Republican Party since before the election, but certainly after.”

He said, “What’s … consequential is the effect the state Republican Party is having on the Republican brand in the state of Arizona.”

The fallout has been swift. Several thousand Arizona Republicans have abandoned the party since the U.S. Capitol riot that Trump helped to incite, with the majority of the defectors re-registering without a designated party, according to state elections officials. Business leaders are publicly recoiling from the GOP after party officials thrust Arizona into the center of Trump’s failed effort to overturn the election results, further dividing an already fractured party.

“Let us be clear: we find the weeks of disinformation and outright lies to reverse a fair and free election from the head of the Arizona Republican Party and some elected officials to be reprehensible,” read a full-page ad in The Arizona Republic this week from Greater Phoenix Leadership, a group of CEOs. “The political party organization and these elected officials, which some of us have supported in the past, have again embarrassed Arizona on a national stage.”

The hard-right pull of the Arizona GOP was evident long before the rise of Kelli Ward, the state party’s current chairwoman and fierce Trump ally. Arizona is the state of Joe Arpaio and Evan Mecham; in 2014, the party censured Sen. John McCain.

Ward is not the first chair to feud with moderate elected officials of her party. But for a party that lost so much ground during Trump’s tenure, the Arizona GOP is now operating as an almost wholly-owned subsidiary of the outgoing president. Rep. Andy Biggs, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, played a leading role in congressional Republicans’ effort to challenge the electoral vote count in Arizona – undermining the vote in his own state. Following the riot perpetrated by Trump supporters at the Capitol, the official Twitter account of the Arizona GOP has been referring to Trump as the #PresidentofPeace.

“Ignore the false claims against President Trump and against supporters of President Trump,” Ward said in a video address this week, at a time when at least some establishment Republicans were beginning to break with Trump. “President Trump has never, never called for violence. All he’s called for is peaceful protest to demand the integrity of the vote.”

In an email on Friday, Zachery Henry, a state party spokesman, decried what he called “a concerted effort being made by the Left and many in the media to brand all Republicans as domestic terrorists because of the destructive actions of a few bad apples — including Antifa enthusiast John Sullivan — which our Republican Party has already totally condemned.”

Bill Gates, a Republican Maricopa County supervisor, said “we’ve always had different members in different places on the spectrum and we’ve always had what you would call a hard right contingent. But here in the last few years we’ve seen that contingent come to the point now where they’re running the party apparatus.”

In that climate, Arizona Republicans who fail to toe the pro-Trump line are finding knives in their backs. Ward told Ducey on Twitter to “#STHU,” or shut up, when he defended the integrity of the vote in the state, and the party is considering censuring him for enacting restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, which is raging in Arizona.

Flake, according to the proposal to censure him, “has joined with those who condemn President Trump.” Cindy McCain’s sins, in addition to backing Joe Biden, include supporting “leftist causes such as gay marriage, growth of the administrative state, and others that run counter to Republican values, a Republican form of government, and the U.S. Constitution.”

Given the party’s losses, more traditionalist Republicans are appalled the state GOP had nothing better to do.

“So, the state party is picking fights with the standard-bearers of the party for no good reason other than to show an outgoing president that Kelli Ward has his back,” said Barrett Marson, a Republican political strategist in Arizona. “The Republican Party does need to have a bit of a reckoning with itself. Will it be the party that follows a demagogue, or will it be the party that follows conservative principles? And so far, some in the leadership apparatus have chosen demagoguery over conservative principles.”

In many states, Republican and Democratic parties alike are controlled by their more activist wings. Intraparty feuding is not uncommon. And in the past, when Arizona was more reliably conservative, state Republicans might not have paid a price for disunity in their ranks.

But that no longer appears to be true. The Arizona Republican Party has regressed amid the state’s changing demographics. On top of losing the presidential election in November, Republicans saw Democrat Mark Kelly take down Sen. Martha McSally, just two years after Kyrsten Sinema put Arizona’s other Senate seat in the Democratic column.

McCain, in a statement, said she was “not surprised by the continuous insults and personal attacks from Arizona GOP Chairman Kelli Ward. She’s shown how attacking Republicans like me can impact elections — her involvement in both Senate elections to replace Jeff Flake and my husband John McCain, two regular targets of her personal attacks, resulted in Democrat wins.”

As chairwoman of the party, McCain said, Ward “managed to turn Arizona blue in November for the first time since 1996. Maybe she should be reminded that my husband never lost an Arizona election since his first win in 1982; he and Governor Ducey are the last two Republicans to win statewide races in Arizona.”

Censuring her — or any other winning Republican — may not have its intended effect.

T.J. Shope, a Republican state senator, said the politicians targeted by the GOP “tend to have a lot more in common with the average person on the street than the folks doing the censuring.”

He said, “We need to go ahead and get to a point in time we’re going to realize we need to grow the party in a positive way once again.”

The election cycle was not all bad for the Arizona GOP. Registered Republicans in the state still outnumber Democrats by about 3 percentage points. Republicans held their majority in the statehouse despite some projections that Democrats were likely to retake it. And some Republican Party officials believe that the controversy surrounding ballot counting in the state will further energize the base.

More than before, said Shelley Kais, chairwoman of the Republican Party in Arizona’s Pima County, local Republicans are “applying to become precinct committeemen, they’re offering to sit on committees, they’re looking at running for office.”

Of the resolution to censure McCain, Kais said, “It’s always a good thing for people to have their day in court, let’s be sure about that, whether it’s the … die-hard activists of the party or whether it’s Cindy McCain.”

But after the losses inflicted on the party last year, other Republicans say it’d be better if the GOP just left the internal conflicts alone.

“My personal opinion is that we just ought to settle back and take our lumps and start fresh,” said Delos Bond, chairman of the Republican Party in Apache County. “I think we ought to try to heal ourselves … stop worrying about the McCain issues and the Flake issues and try some unity there.”

“We need to just buckle down and work on the issues that our platform stands for,” Bond said. “We’ve wandered away from those issues and worried too much about the issues between fellow Republicans … McCain’s gone. Let’s get over it. And Flake’s gone. Let’s get over it.”

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Ivanka’s political future comes into sharper focus

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Ivanka’s political future comes into sharper focus

The president’s eldest son, Don Jr., is eyeing a future in politics as well, though allies say it’s unclear when or what office he’d seek after he passed on running for the Senate in Wyoming this last cycle. He and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle have also been scoping out real estate in Florida.

The newest and most-buzzed about possibility, however, surrounds the president’s daughter Ivanka. The senior White House adviser is set to decamp to Florida after her father’s presidency comes to a close. And though talk of her launching a primary challenge to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has given off the faint whiff of political fan-fick, in reality, Trump officials say, there have been machinations behind the scenes.

One person in contact with the president said that Jared Kushner is viewed as “working single-mindedly to protect and promote his wife’s ‘political career.’” And two sources, including one top GOP fundraiser, said that Trump ally and mega donor Tom Barrack had been pressing fellow Republican financiers to put together some type of operation that could lure Ivanka into entering the race.

“He’s calling people and trying to line them up saying Rubio is terrible, worthless, he’s probably going to lose, Ivanka is going to go there and we should all get together and pledge our support to her and get her to run,” the GOP fundraiser said.

Tommy Davis, a Barrack spokesman, said no chatter of challenging Rubio ever took place.

“It’s not true. He’s never made any comments like this about Marco and he’s not making these calls,” said Davis. “Maybe people are getting confused because we did as much work as we could for the Senate Leadership fund for the Georgia race. But that was before Christmas. But, no, nothing about Ivanka and nothing about Marco.”

And one person close to Trump said that Ivanka herself had denied having interest in running for office. But the president’s advisers are openly playing up her political potency.

“Ivanka only got into politics to help her father and help his agenda but what’s now clear is that Ivanka is a political powerhouse in her own right,” said Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump.

Others in Trumpworld say the signs are evident that Ivanka is leaving the door open to elected office. In late October, Ivanka, who had been registered as a Democrat in the past, gave an interview in which she declared herself “unapologetically pro-life.” One top Florida Republican who is close to the Trumps and Rubio noted that she not only upped her appearances on the campaign trail during the 2020 cycle — both for her father and the two Republicans in the Georgia Senate runoff — but passed out food at a food distribution event in Miami before Christmas.

“We’re taking the possibility seriously,” the Republican official said. “And so is Marco. And that’s a good thing. But you never know. She’s a Trump and the Trumps move on their own timetables.”

And, perhaps most tellingly, in the last week, Steve Bannon, as he was renewing his contacts with Trump himself, began talking up Ivanka’s political resume.

“The second most fire breathing populist in the White House was Ivanka Trump,” the president’s one-time adviser said on a recent podcast of his. If, Bannon added, Rubio voted for the certification of Joe Biden’s election — and he did — then, “I strongly believe and would strongly recommend that Ivanka Trump immediately…. if she is not going to remain an assistant to the president, she should immediately file and run for the senate and primary Marco Rubio in Florida.”

American politics has seen its share of family dynasties before. And though Donald Trump’s standing may have taken a hit by his handling of his election loss — which included inciting a riot that led to violence on Capitol Hill, his ouster from major social media platforms, resignations from his Cabinet, public disgust from party leaders and his second impeachment — public polling still shows that his name remains the most dominant in Republican circles. Virtually everyone expects that to transfer to his children.

“Their brand was certainly stained and it’s a stain we’ll never be able to erase,” said one top Republican strategist. “At the same time, the name of the game is winning a primary and someone with the last name of Trump could win.”

But running in theory is different from running in practice. In Florida, Rubio’s standing has been considered largely stable up to this point. The senator was trashed by hardcore Trump supporters for his vote that certified the Electoral College results. But those close to him said he was expecting far worse. They also point to his solid support in Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most-populous, where 74 percent of the GOP voters are Hispanic and overwhelmingly Cuban-American like Rubio.

“We have nothing bad to say about Ivanka,” said a Rubio adviser. “He’s going to run his race. I’m not sure she really wants to run? She just finished working in the White House and she has three small children — and now she’s going to move to Florida and run against Marco Rubio in a Republican primary?”

For that reason, the expectation among Trump allies and even establishment Republicans is that Ivanka will take her time considering a run while Lara jumps in. One Republican operative who worked with both Lara and Ivanka Trump in 2020 noted that Ivanka was less interested in the rallies and retail politics that come with running for office.

Ivanka Trump is expected to take some time off after leaving the White House, according to one former White House official, and she is currently working on closing out her work, including mitigating the fallout of the riots on Capitol Hill. After that, her family is expected to pack up their home in Washington.

A person close to Lara Trump, meanwhile, said that she has not made any decisions on entering the race in North Carolina, although consultants have been “poking around” for her in the state.

“For [Ivanka] to take on Marco or Florida she’s gotta be ready to rock and roll,” the operative said. “Whereas with Lara, I get the vibe she is ready to go.”

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