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Republican candidates for NYC mayor speak at Manhattan forum

GOP mayoral candidate and former New York Jets

GOP mayoral candidate and former New York Jets football player Michel Faulkner speaks at a forum for Republican candidates for mayor at the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan on Wednesday, April 26, 2017. Other potential candidates include, from left, ex-NYPD detective and TV personality Bo Dietl, state Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis and real estate executive Paul Massey. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

The GOP hopefuls for New York City mayor made their pitches to city Republican leaders Wednesday night — each billing themselves as the candidate with enough cross-party appeal to defeat Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio.

State Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island), real estate sales executive Paul Massey and Michel Faulkner, a former Jets player turned pastor, fielded questions at a crowded candidates’ forum organized by Manhattan Republicans at their Upper East Side Metropolitan Republican Club.

Bo Dietl, a former NYPD detective and television personality who is currently running as an independent, also participated, as he seeks a waiver to run as a Republican.

Malliotakis, the latest to enter the race, touted her background as the daughter of Greek and Cuban immigrants, to make the case that she could make inroads among women voters and in immigrant communities.

She described the GOP race to date as “dull” and said she had the energy and passion to draw attention to her candidacy.

“I’m somebody fresh, somebody new. I believe I have a compelling story that will resonate with the people of New York,” Malliotakis said.

Massey, who has raised the most funds of any of the GOP candidates, collecting $1.6 million in contributions as of Jan. 13, told the audience he has been building a campaign operation for more than a year, and has the “technology in place” to wage a competitive run against de Blasio.

“It comes down to a ground game,” Massey said. “It’s going to be door by door, borough by borough, that’s the way we’re going to attack this. . . . That’s the way we’re going to beat Bill de Blasio.”

Faulkner, who has embraced President Donald Trump’s agenda, said he would appeal to Black and Latino voters. He told the audience he had spent more than two years reaching out to voters in “impoverished areas” to build support for his campaign.

“I’m not saying ethnicity is the only thing, but we need a message that resonates,” Faulkner said, telling the group he actively campaigned on behalf of former Republican mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.

Dietl, a Fox News contributor, told the group he was a longtime Republican, but initially had tried to run as a Democrat, believing it would be his greatest chance at unseating de Blasio.

“I’m here tonight because the Republican party is my home party,” Dietl said.

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