Republican Candidate Has a Fighting Chance
I am a former president of the Metropolitan Republican Club and I would like to take strong issue with Larry Penner's letter (August 22) which claims that our party's candidate for city council in the fifth district, David Garland, "has already lost." In fact, we fully expect that David will run a strong race and has every chance to be elected.
Mr. Penner does allow that Republicans elected five officials on the East Side in the fairly recent past, including Senator Roy Goodman, who despite Mr. Penner's claims, retired and was not defeated in the 2002 election. Mr. Penner indicates that the days of Republican elected officials on the East Side are over, but he very much underestimates the appeal this year of a well qualified and fiercely independent candidate like David.
Democrats have about a 3-1 voter registration advantage in David's district (not the misleading 7-1 figure Mr. Penner mentions, which applies to all Manhattan). Slightly more than half the voters are registered as Democrats, with the remainder split among the Republican Party, Independence Party (which has endorsed David), unaffiliated voters and several minor parties. These type of ratios put the district very much in play. On the mayoral level, both Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg ran very strongly on the East Side.
In addition, the dynamics of the race are strongly in David's favor. The man who was seen as David's most likely opponent is dealing with allegations of repeated sexual harassment and a coverup in Albany and has lost the support of many leading Democrats, including the current councilmember. David has already qualified for city matching funds and his fundraising has picked up rapidly.
Most important, there is a deep distress in the district over the failure of the current one-party group of East Side elected officials to deal effectively with extremely important quality of life issues such as the impending Marine Transfer Station dump on East 91st Street and the continuing devastating effect of the Second Avenue subway project on the residential and business community. We fully expect that, just as they did in the 1980's and 1990's, voters will recognize that they need to be represented by a strong, independent leader like David Garland.