Delegating Authority

As McCain and Romney fight for the nomination, New York’s G.O.P. has a lot to lose

The more typical McCain delegates, however, include a licensed sightseer from Queens, the daughter of a long-dead Brooklyn GOP leader, and a former Democratic state senator from the Bronx. Illustrating just how far removed they are from the existing party power structure, the list for McCain's New York Leadership Team supplied to reporters last week listed 48 members (almost all of whom are delegate candidates), and used the word "former" 21 times. McCain's "leaders" even include a former town supervisor from minuscule upstate Charlton and a former president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association.

Only one party chair, Chemung County's John Meier, stood up to the statewide pressure for Giuliani to endorse the Arizona senator. Not a single one of the state's 32 Republican senators backed McCain, and only two assemblymen, Phil Boyle and Dan Burling, are listed on his committee. Binghampton's Tom Libous is one of 15 senators running as a Giuliani delegate, but two of his relatives, Nancy and Mike Libous, are on the McCain slate, making him the only member of the Bruno-dominated GOP conference in the senate to have at least a toe in another camp. The state's most prominent "former," George Pataki, survived a lunch with Giuliani without endorsing him and has remained neutral, but Pataki's personal attorney, Richard Farren, and his onetime counsel in state government and closest friend, Michael Finnegan, are running as McCain delegates. The widow and son of ex-senator Ron Stafford, who was Pataki's strongest ally in the legislature, are also on the McCain ticket, but Cox says that's because he sits with Kay Stafford on the SUNY board.

The Sergeants Benevolent Association, a city union that is also a client of Cox's law firm, has six McCain delegates, including its president, Ed Mullins. The Irish-American Republicans Club lays claim to six more delegate slots, including one for its executive director, Grant Lally. Dubbed "the Wild Geese," Lally and many of his compatriots charged down to Florida on George Bush's behalf during the 2000 brouhaha over the voter recount, and, according to Cox, they've trekked to New Hampshire and South Carolina for McCain already. Chris Callaghan, the bow-tied Republican candidate for state comptroller in 2006 who raised the ethics issues that eventually forced Alan Hevesi from office, is a McCain delegate from Joe Bruno's home base in Saratoga County—a badge of courage that Callaghan wore proudly in an interview with the Voice months ago, when Giuliani was still riding high.

Theodore Roosevelt IV, who chaired the League of Conservation Voters before Cox, is an odd McCain delegate, having supported John Kerry in 2004. He recast his great-grandfather's famous quote and declared at Kerry's largest Manhattan fundraiser that Bush "carries a big stick and doesn't bother to speak." Even stranger is the delegate candidacy of former upstate congressman Amory Houghton Jr., one of only six Republicans in the House to vote against the Iraq War. In fact, even Kissinger has said that he didn't think a military victory was possible in Iraq, though McCain seldom misses a chance to promise one on the campaign trail.

More consistent with McCain's pro-war and big-stick policies is Long Island delegate and proud neocon Mark Broxmeyer, the longtime chairman of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), whose board included Dick Cheney, John Bolton, and Douglas Feith before the Bush administration took office. (Still remaining on the board are Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, and James Woolsey, other architects of the Iraq War.) Broxmeyer, who orchestrated a series of lectures by Ahmad Chalabi in October 2002 to drum up support for the impending invasion, told the Voice: "We don't need change now in Washington."

Another JINSA board member, Munz Kazmir, is on McCain's metro-area finance committee, and four members of the JINSA advisory committee serve on a McCain national-security panel. The owner of a number of New Jersey health companies over the years, Kazmir paid $26,000 to settle state charges that he'd billed hospitals for the use of unlicensed respiratory therapists. (For his part, JINSA's Broxmeyer—a major developer—resigned in 2006 from the board of his alma mater, Hofstra University, after the school's housing-rights clinic sued him in a dispute with his Latino tenants.)

McCain has also inherited a group of supporters rebounding from bouts with Giuliani. D'Amato, the legendary $500,000-a-phone-call lobbyist, said years ago that his role in appointing Giuliani as the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan was "the biggest mistake I ever made," and vowed that he'd never "want to see him in a higher political position." Giuliani tried to put D'Amato in jail, and even though another federal prosecutor convicted D'Amato's brother (in a case that was later overturned), D'Amato blamed Rudy.

Lew Eisenberg, who chaired the Port Authority during all the years that Giuliani waged war against it, is a major figure on the McCain finance committee. McCain delegate John Fleming was a cop on Giuliani's NYPD detail who ran for state senate in 2006 and couldn't get the former mayor to show up at a fundraiser. Anne-marie McAvoy, a co-chair of Women for McCain, ran for comptroller on Giuliani's ticket in 1997 and was used on the campaign bus as a decoy look-alike for Giuliani's then wife, Donna Hanover, who refused to appear with him because of his ongoing affair with his press aide. Another co-chair of the women's group, Noeline Cuker, is the wife of Eliot Cuker, once Rudy's close confidant, who reportedly broke with him after he tried to cajole Cuker into telling a fabricated version of how Giuliani and Judi Nathan launched their affair.

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