It actually wasn't that along ago that Councilman Eric Ulrich of south Queens was considered a possible Republican challenger to Mayor Bill de Blasio, but that campaign never got up and running.
On Monday, Ulrich announced that he was supporting Bo Dietl for mayor. Dietl tried to change his voter registration from Republican to Democrat so he could take on the mayor in a primary, but he screwed up the paperwork and left himself without a political party at all.
So to even run in the Republican Primary and fight for the chance to challenge de Blasio in November, he'll need to get what is known as a Wilson Pakula, or essentially a waiver from a majority of the GOP leaders in the city to allow him to run on the Republican line.
If the term “Wilson Pakula” sounds familiar, it's because it's the same waiver that got former Queens councilman Daniel Halloran, former state senator Malcolm Smith, Queens GOP officer Vince Tabone and others in trouble with the law in 2013.
Smith concocted an elaborate bribery scheme in return for securing a Wilson Pakula from the Queens County Republican Party to allow him to run on that line in the 2013 mayoral election. We're not sure what crafty plans Smith had for securing a Wilson Pakula from other Republican leaders in the city, but we're sure it was fool-proof.
(Incidentally, the governor has proposed doing away with the Wilson Pakula provision to prevent any such shenanigans in the future.)
As for Dietl, Ulrich has agreed to help him any way he can to secure the necessary paperwork to get on the ballot.
“I absolutely believe that Bill de Blasio can be beat this year, and I think the only person who can beat him that’s currently in the race for mayor is Bo Dietl,” said Ulrich, according to published reports from Monday's endorsement on the steps of City Hall. “Out of all the Republicans or people who want to run on the Republican line, he’s the best we’ve got.”
It's a bit of a weird move on the part of Ulrich, one of the few Republican elected officials in the city, to go out on a limb and endorse a non-Republican. And not only a non-Republican, but also a candidate as divisive as Dietl.
At best, Dietl is accused of being wholly insensitive and draws comparisons to Donald Trump, which he rejects.
One of his most incendiary comments is supporting the cop who killed Eric Garner. Dietl, a former member of the NYPD himself, said he has used the same hold that Garner employed on perps any number of times.
On Monday the bombastic Deitl was at his fiery best, saying that he would like to cut de Blasio open just to see if he has a heart.
If Deitl does somehow get into the Republican Primary for mayor, he'll definitely be a quote machine.But even if he doesn't, Deitl has a plan B: his own party line.
He recently renamed it the “Anyone But Bill de Blasio” party.