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Why Meeks, Suozzi made their picks for New York City mayoral primary

This composite image shows Reps. Gregory Meeks and

This composite image shows Reps. Gregory Meeks and Thomas Suozzi.

Daily Point

Calculated choices

The two members of Congress who straddle parts of Long Island and Queens are now out with their New York City mayoral endorsements: Tom Suozzi went with Eric Adams earlier this month, and Greg Meeks came out for Ray McGuire this weekend.

What led to the two neighboring lawmakers choosing different moderate Black candidates?

Meeks has ties to McGuire, a former Wall Street executive who has contributed $9,300 to his congressional campaign since 2014. Meeks supported Michael Bloomberg’s presidential run in 2020, suggesting an openness to the business community.

Meeks also may have had reason to go with McGuire over Adams for congressional political reasons. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, comes from a different wing of the Brooklyn party than Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a major congressional powerbroker, who has not yet endorsed in the mayoral race.

However it happened, the Meeks endorsement was good news for political newcomer McGuire, who has not made much of a dent in polls despite a burst of TV advertising. Meeks is the chair of the Queens Democratic Party, which did not itself endorse McGuire this weekend, though some elements of the party including County Committee Chair Vivian Cook and various district leaders have.

Adams, who has called himself the "Queens candidate," is hardly giving up on Queens — on Monday he highlighted the support of other borough district leaders. His relatively moderate and business-friendly brand, combined with his background as an NYPD captain, can play well with outer-borough, white ethnic audiences.

Which is, in a way, where Suozzi comes in. During the Glen Cove Democrat’s April event for Adams along with the NY Italian American Political Action Committee, Adams, who is Black, was labeled an honorary Italian.

It’s the kind of coalition that has led to success in NYC races in the past. And though businessman Andrew Yang has been leading in the 2021 mayoral race, Adams has been consistently right behind, and boosting the campaign of the winning mayor certainly wouldn’t hurt Suozzi in any potential future higher-office run that would be aided by some NYC support to get off the ground.

Suozzi explained his support for Adams to The Point as an acknowledgement that "balance" is needed to accomplish things in politics.

Adams, as a former police officer, "always tried to make changes and reform the department but also understands the importance of law and order," said Suozzi, characterizing Adams as someone who is pro-business but also cares about impoverished people.

"As you know, I don't like people who are all this or all that," said Suozzi, proud vice-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

Can the New York’s GOP field a top draw ticket in 2022?

With Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin putting himself forward as a 2022 gubernatorial candidate, the discussion expands to whether the GOP can put forward a competitive slate for all the statewide offices when the Democrats have more than a 2-to-1 enrollment advantage over Republicans.

In order for the party’s slate to raise money and enthusiasm it also has to find strong opponents against Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader who is at the top of the ticket, as well as state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Attorney General Tish James, or whomever else gets the nominations.

So what happened the last time Schumer stood for reelection the same year a gubernatorial race was on the ballot? The year was 2010, and the going got unimaginably weird.

The GOP needed three big-time candidates because in addition to Schumer’s seat and the governorship, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was running in a special election to fill the remaining two years of Hillary Clinton's old seat; Gillibrand was nominated to replace Clinton, who had been named secretary of state by President Barack Obama.

Schumer faced off against upstate advertising executive Jay Townsend, whipping him by 34 points. Gillibrand went up against Joe DioGuardi who had served in the House in the 1980s. That year he garnered additional street cred from his daughter, Kara, a songwriter who was a judge on American Idol, but was beaten by 28 points.

And Andrew M. Cuomo, of course, destroyed Carl Paladino by 30 points in the general election for governor.

In addition, two other statewide GOP candidates considered strong options were beaten, with Thomas DiNapoli edging businessman Harry Wilson for comptroller by two points and former Staten Island district attorney Dan Donovan dropping the attorney general race to Eric Schneiderman by 12.

That all would have been weird enough except for one thing: the GOP retook the majority in the State Senate after a spate of unpopular moves, including the MTA payroll tax. It was the first election win for Zeldin, who defeated incumbent Democrat Brian Foley while another Democrat, Craig Johnson, lost to Jack Martins.

So what does that mean for this November?

New York politics lends itself much more easily to nostalgic reminiscing than iron-clad predictions.

But once again the GOP will likely struggle to compete in statewide races given its enrollment disadvantage, but in Senate districts the Democratic Party may again struggle to convince voters it should stay in control after approving bail changes, tax increases, huge spending hikes and a controversial multi-billion dollar giveaway to unemployed undocumented workers.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Pencil Point

Climbing out of the hole

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Quick Points

  • A proposed Central Islip charter school is being opposed by school leaders in Central Islip, Brentwood and Bay Shore, with Bay Shore Superintendent Joseph Bond saying, "There is no need and no demand from our community for this type of school." With all due respect, Mr. Bond, your kids and their families will decide whether there is a demand.
  • China has expressed displeasure over a show of unity between President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. China’s vice foreign minister Le Yucheng said, "The U.S. should never try to play the Taiwan card … This is our red line. The U.S. should never try to cross it." Sounds like a warning to a kid not to take any cookies from the cookie tin, and we know what usually happens with that.
  • After a torrent of criticism of the "America First" caucus as having roots steeped in nativism, racism and "uniquely Anglo-Saxon" traditions, cofounder Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene quickly tried to distance herself from the group. Not exactly the definition of having the courage of your convictions.
  • The Biden administration intends to order its agencies to stop using terms like "alien," "illegal alien" and "assimilation" when referring to immigrants. That’s a nice gesture, but it won’t do anything to solve the crisis … er, breakdown … er, problem … er, situation at the border.
  • Some of the federally charged defendants in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol are claiming they were there as journalists, taking video to record history. You have to give them credit – for chutzpah.
  • NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter made a successful test flight in the thin Martian air that lasted about 30 seconds. Not impressed? The Wright brothers’ first test of an airplane lasted 12 seconds and look where that led.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie