Supporters Complain Carrión Being Sidelined

Adolfo Carrión addressing New York-based community and ethnic media at a mayoral Q&A organized by Center for Community and Ethnic Media at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism on June 20, 2013. (Voices photo)

Third-party candidate for mayor Adolfo Carrión, the former Bronx borough president, faces an uphill battle with low poll numbers and the likelihood he won’t be invited to the official debates. (Photo by Voices of NY)

Independence Party candidate Adolfo Carrión is not getting NYPD protection like his Democratic and Republican counterparts. He will probably not be invited to the official debates alongside candidates Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio either, El Diario-La Prensa reports.

Two separate articles by reporter Juan Matossian voice concerns that the two-party system is sidelining the only Latino candidate for mayor.

While the New York City Police Department has activated security protocols to protect mayoral candidates Lhota and de Blasio, according to a report in El Diario-La Prensa, third party candidate Adolfo Carrión has been left out.

“We find it very strange,” said Carlos Girón, spokesman for Carrión’s campaign, who confirmed that the Independence Party candidate has not been given police protection.

[…]

The NYPD Hispanic Society argues that the former Bronx borough president should receive the same treatment. “It seems to me that it would be the fair and right thing to do to allow all candidates to benefit from the same security measures,” said Dennis González, president of the organization representing Hispanic police officers. The NYPD refused to discuss their criteria to assign protection to mayoral candidates.

“Our regulations do not allow us to speak about the security measures we put in place for elected officials or for any other individual,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner John McCarthy via email.

The lack of protection only adds to Carrión’s discomfort after he was not invited to attend an NYPD briefing on terrorism. Commissioner Ray Kelly confirmed last week that he had met with de Blasio and Lhota to inform them about the Department’s anti-terrorism measures.

According to Carrión’s campaign, on September 13 the candidate formally requested to meet with the commissioner but Kelly never replied.

“It seems reasonable to me to question if Carrión is being marginalized (by the NYPD),” said a source within the candidate’s campaign who asked to remain anonymous.

In a separate story, El Diario-La Prensa reported that the official rules make it very difficult for Carrión to be invited to the official mayoral debates, set for October 22 and 29.

So far, the independent Hispanic candidate does not meet all the requirements stipulated by the Campaign Finance Board, as the polls show that he has the support of less than 5 percent of likely voters.

“The electoral process will be gravely harmed if we are excluded,” said Donald Kaplan, spokesman for Carrión. “There are almost a million independent voters registered who deserve the opportunity to hear the three candidates debating.”

Carrión does meet the other requirement to be eligible to participate in the debates, raising more than $50,000 during his campaign.

[…]

The latest polls, however, only reflect 2 percent support for Carrión. Electoral law says that, unless he has 5 percent on the next poll by  Quinnipiac or the Marist Institute, the candidate will be excluded from the first debate, set for October 22.

The requirements to qualify for the second debate are even more demanding: The candidate must demonstrate support of at least a 15 percent of likely voters and have raised a minimum of $500,000.

“I am concerned that a public organization such as the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) fixes its limits based on polls,” said Carlos Vargas Ramos, political analyst at CUNY’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies. He believes that the measure “weakens third-party candidates.”

The article goes on to say that the last time a third-party candidate has been able to qualify for the official debates was in 1997, the same year the CFB inaugurated its debate program. Those debates were attended by Republican Rudolph Giuliani, Democrat Ruth Messinger and Olga Rodríguez of the Socialist Party.

Also, the city’s foremost polling firms, such as Quinnipiac, have been strongly criticized for excluding the Hispanic community from most of its surveys.

Furthermore, CFB rules have also been questioned for being overtly flexible towards certain candidates. Last month, candidate George McDonald complained that his fellow Republican rival, John Catsimatidis, was the only one invited to appear at the last official Republican debate before the primaries, even though he did not fulfill all the requirements. Catsimatidis had not raised the mandatory funds since he paid for his own campaign.

[…]

Because of his low results in the polls, Carrión was not invited to the unofficial debate sponsored by television networks ABC and Univisión and the Daily News. The debate will be held on October 15.

The independent candidate’s supporters complain that it will be impossible for voters to become acquainted with Carrión if he is not allowed to take part in the debates. Quinnipiac’s last poll showed that 78 percent of prospective voters interviewed said they did not know or had only a vague idea about Carrión’s campaign, especially outside the Bronx.

“The name rings a bell, but I didn’t know that he was running for mayor,” said Julio Ortiz, a resident of Brooklyn. “I have made up my mind about voting for de Blasio, but I’d like to see this Carrión in the debates.”

So far, Carrión has only been confirmed to appear in an unofficial debate organized by NY1 in early October. Lhota will also appear but de Blasio declined.

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