Pataki’s Political House Divided
ICYMI…I wrote this morning about former Gov. George Pataki’s fury with his longtime communications director, Mike McKeon, for crossing party lines to head up “GOPers for Cuomo,” along with a number of fellow Republicans who say they’ve seen the writing on the wall and don’t believe their party can beat the Democratic AG.
Pataki, who has endorsed former Rep. Rick Lazio for governor, expressed his displeasure to McKeon during a phone call last Monday that came just a few hours before the formal unveiling of the operative’s involvement on Cuomo’s behalf.
“He considered Mike a friend and was very disappointed that this happened,” a source close to Pataki said.
McKeon confirmed the phone call and said Pataki made it clear he would prefer it if his former aide was not so heavily invested in Cuomo’s victory. However, McKeon also insisted his onetime boss “understood” once he explained the motivation behind his decision.
“Given the dysfunction in state government, it makes sense to rally around someone and build a coalition government and get things back on track in Albany,” McKeon told me.
McKeon isn’t the only member of his lobbying/communications/consulting firm, Mercury Public Affairs, now helping Cuomo. Sources said Kieran Mahoney, Pataki’s former political advisor, has made a few calls. And Tom Doherty, who did a stint as the former governor’s patronage czar, is all-in, too.
Also assisting Cuomo is former US Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, who was instrumental in the ascendance in 1994, along with then-state GOP Chairman Bill Powers, of little-known Sen. Pataki to candidate-for-governor Pataki, who toppled Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo from his perch.
D’Amato has hosted at least one fundraiser for Andrew Cuomo. He isn’t yet a formal member of “GOPers for Cuomo,” but a source close to the senator-turned-lobbyist said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if he eventually gets on board.
Another individual from the old Pataki universe now in Cuomo’s camp is fundraiser Cathy Blaney, who is also helping US Senate hopeful Bruce Blakeman raise cash – a fact that has not been lost on observers who believe D’Amato is quietly pulling for the daughter of his fellow lobbyist and friend, Doug Rutnik, Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, to win.
Meanwhile, there are a number of former Pataki staffers who are helping Lazio, including former communications director Dave Catalfamo, who (eventually) replaced McKeon following his departure for the private sector; Ryan Moses, ex-special assistant to the governor and executive director of the state GOP; and Bob Bulman, whose last Pataki administration post was patronage czar.
(Note: A reader points out that there was a communications director in between McKeon and Catalfamo, Lisa Dewald Stoll, who is married to Pataki’s 2002 campaign manager, Adam Stoll).
Catalfamo and Bulman work together in the Albany-based communications/lobbying firm Capitol Public Strategies. Moses, who used to work at the Syracuse-based Wladis Law Firm, has since joined his fellow Pataki administration vets at Capitol Public Strategies. (Fixed).
Moses also worked on Lazio’s 2000 US Senate run against Hillary Clinton.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on May 31, 2010 at 1:22 pm, and is filed under 2010 Gov Race, Andrew Cuomo, Democrats, George Pataki, Lobbying, Republicans, Rick Lazio. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|