CityLine: March 19, 2001, WPCNR NewsLine
County Legislator Ryan told WPCNR Monday that he will not challenge for the city Mayoral nomination in a primary:
"I'll respect the Nominating Committee Mayoral Nominee," he said. "Usually, I don't get involved in primaries they deplete your campaign funds."
The buzz of the Democratic Victory Breakfast Sunday morning was that Ryan was planning an announcement he was running for Mayor March 28, regardless of whether he was selected to be Mayoral nominee by the city Democratic Party, according to WPCNR reporters attending the meeting.
Greer does not "plan" to contest if he loses nomination.
Meanwhile, across town, reached at his home, Robert Greer, asked if Legislator Ryan was the Mayoral choice, would he mount a primary challenge, said that "I have no plans to."
Earlier Monday, Greer revealed that the Democratic Nominating Committee will announce its slate of candidates for city offices by the end of the month, "one week," was what he said.
WPCNR notes that this would seem to be a "hurry up" schedule to coincide with the Ryan fundraiser. The Nominating Committee might want to nominate Ryan at a time when it would be to his advantage to announce, or to eliminate rampant speculation and discord by settling on either Mr. Greer or Ms. Malmud, in secret, making Ryan's decision for him.
Bradley says, not so.
A WPCNR call to Adam Bradley, City Democratic Party Chair, to confirm Greer's information of the forthcoming slate announcement was greeted with Mr. Bradley saying, "That's news to me."
Bradley said "Our Nominating Committee will not be dictated to by any candidate's fundraiser."
To his knowledge, he said because he "has the facts" the Committee was still considering candidates for all positions: Mayor and Council. He praised the Nominating Committee for "the time and effort they put in (evaluating potential candidates) when bombarded by persons with superb credentials."
Bradley reports the Committee still hopes to announce their slate on April 22, the night of their Annual Democratic Dinner, where H. Carl McCall is the featured Keynote Speaker, but did not rule out the possibility that all candidates still would not have been selected by that time.
Asked if he felt Legislator Ryan could win a Mayoral race, Bradley said he felt he could based on the job he has done as a County Legislator, his residence in White Plains and his experience in White Plains. He also expressed that the other two candidates, William Greer and Rita Malmud were equally good candidates.
Bradley pointed out that better city communication with Lois Bronz, another County Legislator representing 15% of White Plains, and George Latimer, who represents 8% of the city as well as Mr. Ryan who represents the other 75% of the city, was an issue he had with the present Administration. He said communication with County government is "one of the problems of White Plains." He called for a Mayor more responsive and more communicative with the County Legislators.
Ryan would bow out gracefully.
Ryan said if he was not honored with the Mayoral nomination that he would concentrate on his reelection to his County Legislator seat. He stopped short of saying he would announce for Legislator the night of March 28, if rejected for Mayor, but strongly suggested it. However, conceivably he could delay the announcement even later, if he was still in the running (and Mr. Greer's impression of an imminent mayoral decision by the Nominating Committee is wrong).
Ryan revealed that he had had "another opportunity" in addition to the previous Sunday to discuss his candidacy with the Democratic Party Nominating Committee but did not elaborate.
Ryan is having a fund-raiser at the Crown Plaza Hotel from 5:30 to 7 PM March 28.
At the top of our interview, we asked if he was planning to announce for Mayor at that fundraiser, Ryan said "I'll make some comments to the group, but cannot say what they would be. I can't tell you more than that right now. I'll also make further revelations about my role and discussions in seeking the Mayoral nomination."
The Legislator commented that the fundraiser had been scheduled for some time. He said it is a series of fundraisers to raise money since he was going to be up for reelection in the fall, regardless.
As Greer said, though it is denied today by Mr. Bradley, the White Plains Democratic Party Nominating Committee will apparently will be making their selection within one week. This decision coincides neatly with Ryan's fundraiser.
Early Monday, before Ryan said he would not run a primary challenge, WPCNR spoke with Robert Greer on the intrigue surrounding the Democratic jockeying for position.
The councilman expressed skepticism that a primary would actually occur.
He pointed out that if Legislator Ryan is not nominated for Mayor by the committee, it could set up a primary showdown in September. However, Ryan would have to accumulate 600 signatures (5% of the registered Democratic voters) to be placed on the ballot.
"I think a primary at all (involving Ryan or Malmud), is still long odds," Greer said. he expressed skepticism that Ryan would follow through on any primary bid. "I'm still in office, regardless of what happens in a primary, while they're history. If either lose, it's too late to get on the ballot for their previous positions."
He said he still did not expect a primary fight with Mr. Ryan. He said he had spoken with Mr. Ryan, since Ryan's surprise candidacy, shaking hands, but had not discussed Ryan's Mayoral ambitions with him.
Greer said he is still very close to Malmud, though they have not discussed her own ambitions to run for Mayor. He said he doubted very much that Ms. Malmud would run for County Legislator, now being speculated, because she would have to give up her seat to run for it. He described their relationship as "excellent."
The veteran councilperson expressed two opinions about primaries: "A primary does bring attention (to the issues), so people certainly know there's an election going on. Yet it can leave the party divided and cause bitterness. I'd be very surprised if Mr. Ryan does not seek reelection to his legislature seat."
WPCNR interviewed Mr. Greer Monday morning before we spoke to Mr. Ryan, when Mr. Ryan told us he would not mount a primary challenge.
Asked if Ryan were to challenge him in a primary, Greer said he that would not back down from a Ryan challenge, "I'll give him a helluva fight (for the nomination). I will not back down if I'm the nominee."
In response to WPCNR's questions on how far along he was in mapping his mayoral strategy, Greer said the Democratic Party city platform would be his responsibility: "I do have a program. I've thought through this very carefully. I am prepared to go forward if I'm the nominee of my party."