George T. McDonald said he spent 700 consecutive nights in Grand Central Terminal during the grittier days of 1980s New York, offering food and help to homeless people, in an effort that he later developed into a nonprofit organization, the Doe Fund, which helps find jobs for the indigent.
On Thursday, Mr. McDonald returned to the train station to announce a new endeavor: his candidacy for mayor of New York City. Whether this venture will be as successful as the last remains an open question.
A longtime Democrat who sought his party’s nomination for Congress in the 1980s, Mr. McDonald recently registered as a Republican to take advantage of that party’s relatively unsettled mayoral primary. At that time, the Republican contest was expected to be less competitive than the Democratic primary.
Mr. McDonald’s remarks on Thursday mostly eschewed ideology in favor of a subject he is intimately familiar with: unemployment and how to address it.
“I am running for mayor because I understand the power of a job,” Mr. McDonald said, surrounded by a small group of supporters in a crowded passageway of the Beaux-Arts rail terminal. Jobs, Mr. McDonald reasoned, were linked with nearly every issue in the mayoral race, including public safety and quality-of-life concerns. “The central premise of a McDonald administration is simple: we must set as a goal the full employment of every resident of our great city,” he said.
But asked about other thorny topics, like government subsidies for businesses, Mr. McDonald demurred, saying there would be time for more detailed discussions during the campaign.
And while he implied that some of his mayoral opponents would “turn our city over to unions and special interests,” he would not specify, when asked, whom he was talking about.
Mr. McDonald is not a household name in New York, but his biggest challenge may be convincing the city’s political establishment that his candidacy is viable. The Republican primary field has expanded since Mr. McDonald began exploring a run; he will now likely have to face Joseph J. Lhota, a former deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration who is well liked by business interests. Beside Mr. Lhota, the probable Republican contenders include Tom Allon, a community newspaper publisher, and Adolfo Carrión Jr., a former Bronx borough president, both of whom recently switched their party affiliations.
Source: NY Times