City Hall News reported this morning that Como was ready to take a pass on the contest -- despite polling showing him in good shape in a battle with the incumbent -- as he focused on the executive directorship of the city Board of Elections:
"Como’s decision may be cause for relief among Democrats worried about Addabbo’s vulnerability as he seeks to hold the seat he swung away from the Republicans in 2008, helping deliver their slim majority. But it seems likely to disappoint several Democratic power players in the city who had been hoping his candidacy would take him out of the running to be the new Board of Elections executive director. That job, a $172,000-a-year patronage plum, has been vacant since February, when Marcus Cederqvist resigned."
But after the City Hall story ran, Como told me tonight, his phone went absolutely nuts with supporters -- from former elected to family and friends -- urging him to reconsider and take on the challenge.
"It really is an overwhelming thing," he said. "It really forced me to take a step back. I sat down with my family, my wife, my friends, my parents just left... My main concern has always been for the good of the city and the good of the state. [Now], instead of just focusing on one major issue of elections and voting machines, it’s going to focus on other things."
Como declined to say who he'd like to see as the next BOE director, instead focusing on the task ahead. Petitioning starts tomorrow (which is in 9 minutes, as I finish blogging this.)
He did say, however, that he does not support any ambitions of current Deputy Executive Director George Gonzalez, who has gotten busted smoking in the BOE offices, for one thing, to ascend to the post.
"I will have petitions out there tomorrow, ready to go and again, the support has been overwhelming," Como said.
Como says he's not underestimating the task of taking on Addabbo.
"It’s definitely going to be a tough election," Como said. "While I respect Joe and he’s a good guy, he has had the opportunity to represent us in the state Senate in the past year and a half - hospitals closing down to and the cuts that the community has seen... The people have basically had enough. We have a budget that’s way overdue. It’s time to definitely [get back] to a Republican-controlled Senate and restore its integrity to what it once was years ago."
A spokesperson for Addabbo couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
One Republican who's been mentioned for the ED post is Bronx Republican Commissioner J.C. Polanco.
"I'm very interested in having that discussion with my colleagues," said Polanco. "First I've got to talk to my family, my job, before I do anything. This is an important year in making New Yorkers comfortable and confident in the new voting systems, and I'm up to the challenge and I look forward to working with our commissioners."