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By Ryan Gellis
Standing in a thinning crowd of Staten Island ferry commuters Tuesday, you might have made the mistake of thinking Big Rudy, America’s favorite mayor, was coming back to run for office. The few in the crowd who were willing to chance missing the boat would stop to shake Giuliani’s hand, and only then would he step aside and try to draw some of the attention to the Staten Island native, Republican Attorney-General Candidate, and now, big loser in the polls, Dan Donovan.
One of the few New York races that the Siena poll told us was going to be competitive was the battle for NY Attorney General. But as Donovan arrived, punctual as usual at 8pm Tuesday night at the Republican headquarters on the 3rd floor of the midtown Hilton, the 11 point gap, representing his loss, was already apparent. Whether it was exhaustion from the long day, or bad reports from the polls, Donovan had lost some of the swagger and charm he had brought to his earlier pit stops.
The names Bloomberg, Giuliani and Koch used to mean something in this city. Maybe they still do, in which case Donovan was doing something very wrong. Starting at 6:30 in the morning Donovan hit the trail in Staten Island to vote. By 8:30 he was making an appearance at Grand Central Station drawing crowds with former mayor Ed Koch talking him up. After making two separate stops in Brooklyn around noon Donovan showed up at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal. He traded in Koch for another supportive ex-mayor, Rudy Giuliani, as he shook hands with commuters heading home to Staten Island.
The three mayors were Donovan’s most notable support and he never went too long without dropping one of their names. Donovan’s most popular phrase during his Giuliani rounds Tuesday? A sing-song “come say hello to the Mayor.”
But Donovan’s triumvirate of mayoral endorsements wasn’t enough to carry him across the victory line. When the votes were counted later that night, and the party at the Hilton ground to a somber halt so Donovan could make his concession speech, there wasn’t a single recognizable Republican face in the house. But then things quickly turned festive again, as the GOP rejoiced at better nationwide numbers.
If you did stop and listen to Donovan talk about his policies on election day, it was unclear if he even knew what office he was running for. He was confidently talking to voters at the terminal about terrorism and changing the immigration laws. Meanwhile, he staunchly avoided the issue of prosecuting white collar criminals , a role that AG-Elect, Eric Schneiderman, embraced.
All that mayoral love couldn’t translate to votes for Dan Donovan, who will probably be staying put on the forgotten fifth borough for the foreseeable future.