A man with lots cash on hand is running for Mayor of New York City in 2013. He also stands out amongst the multitude of Democrats in race as a former Democrat turned Independent seeking the Republican nomination. His name is not Michael Bloomberg – who is now term limited – nor is he an old rich guy out of touch with the New York City’s more socio-economic and diverse reality; or he is?
His name is Adolfo Carrión, Jr. and he could be New York City’s first Latino Mayor come next November. Latinos in New York City have yet to shatter that glass ceiling, and with no other prominent Latino running – like current Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. who is seeking a second term in the Bronx – Adolfo Carrión could possibly harness the enormous voting block among the 2.7 million Latinos living in New York City, currently up for grabs in this wide open race for city-wide office.
The former Bronx Borough President of two terms, had flirted with the idea of running for mayor in 2009, but decided not to for a possible run of city comptroller, where he ultimately abandoned after being tapped by the Obama Administration to head the cabinet level position of Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs. His appointment was met with praise and critique from Bronx leaders and city insiders, leaving a cloud of doubt on the man’s character and legacy. The man who invested 30% of his capital budget along with 4.4 million in public-private partnerships for residential development in the Bronx, was also the man believed to be in conflict with developers donating to his campaign war chest while awaiting his approval for construction projects. At one point, Carrión was fined $10,000 over a conflict of interest with an architect involved in a housing development who also hired by Carrión for personal home renovations. Carrión was later transitioned by the Obama Administration to Regional Director for HUD’s New York and New Jersey Regional Office, seen by many as a demotion. He recently left his position at HUD in February of 2012.
Since then, Carrión has been slowly preparing his run for mayor of New York City, returning to his home town to spark urban development in the private sector. With a recorded war chest of $2 Million as early as of 2010, Adolfo Carrión is well positioned to place a down payment on his mayoral campaign. The moderate and business friendly Aldolfo Carrión would do poorly in a Democratic primary, where labor and liberals dominate the process. And with that reality, Adolfo Carrión has taken a bold political move towards a possible win by deciding to leave the Democratic Party and declare himself an Independent, seeking the Republican nomination.
It is no secret that the National Republican Party, after taking a beating in the 2012 elections, is in desperate need for diversity, nationally and even locally in New York City. As the potential mayor of the largest city in the United States, Adolfo Carrión would accomplish both of those needs, and would arguably aid the GOP in making inroads with minorities across the board. But newly declared independent still has work to do to win over key NYC Republicans. Though it is still early, the current state of the race shows City Council Speaker Christine Quinn with a healthy lead over her democratic counter parts. Should the openly gay Speaker Quinn win the nomination of the Democratic Party – and Adolfo Carrión do the same within the GOP – we could see a history making race between the LGBT and Latino Communities. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1 in New York City, but the Latino vote will likely hold to the key to victory; as the local and national 2012 elections unequivocally conveyed. As the outcome remains to be seen, one question stands to make all the difference. Adolfo Carrión carries cash, connections, and controversy, but can he carry the Latino vote to victory? As a Republican?