By ROBERT GOLOMB
ell John Burnett, theRepublican Party nomineefor New York City comptrol-ler in the November election, thatthere are six registered Democratsfor every registered Republican inNew York City, and you’ll be a bitsurprised to see a smile coming tohis face. Tell him that in New York City’s last citywide election in 2009the Republican candidate for comp-troller, Joseph Mendola, won lessthan 20 percent of the popular votein losing to current and now retiringComptroller Democrat John Liu,and you’ll see the smile remaining.Tell him further that you have to goback to Joseph D. McGoldrick, whoserved from 1938-1945, to find thelast elected Republican comptrollerof New York City, and you will seethat he still appears unbothered.When I brought all this New York City electoral history to Burnett’sattention during an interview in hisManhattan campaign officeheld Sept. 11 —the firstinterview he has granted fol-lowing the previous day’sDemocrat Party primarywon by Scott Stringer —he appeared undaunted.“Actually, I am well aware of the disparity [betweenDemocrat and Republicanregistered voters], and I knowhow handily John Liu defeat-ed Joe Mendola, but none of that alarms me,”he said.The reason the 6-1 outnumberingof Democrats to Republicans in thecity fails to alarm Burnett is simple,he said. “If you look at theRepublican victories in the last fivemayoral elections, the elections of Mayor Giuliani and MayorBloomberg clearly show that NewYork City voters have the abilityand intelligence to put their partyaffiliation aside and vote for the per-son whom they believe will bestserve them.”Equally simple for Burnett is thereason Mendola was so crushinglydefeated by Liu four years ago. “Ilike and respect Joe, but he didnot run an active campaign,and the Republican Party quitefrankly did not encourage himto do so. I promise you I amrunning to win and will havethe Republican Party fullybehind me. In addition, unlikeJoe, who had an opponent run-ning against him on theConservative line, I will be onthe Republican, Conservativeand the Independent SchoolChoice lines.”As to the point aboutMcGoldrick, Burnett maintainedthe same glass-is-half-full outlook on his chances in November. “Iknow it’s been a long time since aRepublican was elected as comp-troller. To me that means the time islong overdue [to elect one].’’Burnett, who told me he had doneextensive research on the history of New York City comptrollers as heprepared for the race and thus knew just who McGoldrick was, added,“While its been almost 70 yearssince a Republican last served [ascomptroller], many of theDemocrats [who served as comp-trollers] were fiscally conservative.That includes Mario Procaccino[1966-1969], Harrison Goldin[1974-1989], William Thompson[2002-2009] and to a certain degreeeven John Liu now.”
hile both Democrat andRepublican party leaders feltthat Elliot Spitzer, with all of hispublicly well known personal andpolitical baggage, would have beenthe easier opponent for him, Burnettsaid he looks forward to the raceagainst Stringer, which officiallybegan the moment Stringer wasdeclared the winner on primaryelection night.“Whether I ran against Mr.
Trying to Reverse the Trend
Will John Burnett become NYC’s first Republican comptroller since 1945?
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12 JEWISH WORLD • OCTOBER 25-31, 2013
John Burnett,Republican candidate for New York City comptroller.
‘As comptroller,I will always remember that we are makinginvestments for millions of men and women whoseretirement benefits are financially crucial to them.’