Mayor Mike Bloomberg is a big, big fan of Ray Kelly, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to publicly say that the city’s police commissioner should step it up and run for mayor in 2013.
It’s not that Bloomberg doesn’t like him — it’s just, you know, a hypothetical situation. And Bloomberg’s never talked to Kelly about it, the mayor said today.
“Let me say the same thing about Ray Kelly that I’ve been saying every time I get the question: nothing’s different,” said a slightly irritated Bloomberg after a reporter asked him this afternoon about rumors that a top state Republican is courting the police commissioner to run for mayor and that Kelly is in fact open to the idea. “I recruited the right guy. He had the experience with the NYPD…He’s worked his way up from the bottom to the top in the Police Department…He’s a great manager.”
The main pols expected to compete in the race to replace Bloomberg are all Democrats, so if Kelly were to run for mayor as a Republican it would certainly change the dynamics of the campaigns. Bloomberg even said earlier this month that it’s a shame only Democrats are running since that means a much smaller group of New Yorkers will choose the next mayor in the primary election.
Kelly (like any savvy politician) has typically said he’s not running for mayor — that he’s focused on his current job.
Yesterday, the Voice caught up with several expected mayoral candidates who all said that Kelly’s a good police commissioner and didn’t comment much further, though it’s worth noting that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn repeatedly said that the next mayor, whoever that is, really needs Kelly to keep his current job.
Bloomberg, at a press conference on education today, offered some routine praise for the city’s Police Department and Kelly, who this year has gotten push back on a range of issues that would likely come up in a mayoral race, including stop-and-frisk practices and the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims.
In addition to his successful management skills, Bloomberg says Kelly “also had the advantage of Washington expertise and, at the time right after 9/11…I thought we really do need somebody that can deal with Washington, because we’re going to have an international threat here that we’ve never had before. And so it’s not just street crime, but it’s also terrorism. The proof is in the pudding, and Ray Kelly [is] leading the best Police Department in the world, which is very diverse and well-trained…They’ve stopped 14 terrorist attacks and who knows how many others people would’ve perpetrated…against us, except they thought we were too good and we would stop them. Ray Kelly has just done an amazing job, and I expect him to be with me through the administration.”
The reporter (thankfully) asked him a simpler question that he couldn’t really talk around: “Would you vote for him for mayor?”
“You know, it’s a hypothetical. I haven’t even, I’ve never had a conversation with Ray about him running for office, but I think there’s no question that I think that Ray Kelly’s done a phenomenal job for this city…He and his whole department, it’s not just one man as he’d be the first to tell you.”