By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 11, 2021: A Caribbean immigrant and ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump wants to be the next mayor of New York City.
Dominican-born, New York businessman, Fernando Mateo, is running in the Republican Primary against Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.
In a debate on WPIX 11 TV this week, Mateo, who once ran the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, expressed his fervent support for the ex-president and revealed he’d met recently with him.
“Trump is hurt by what is happening to the city. He has compassion for New York and New Yorkers,” Mateo said, as he touted his endorsement from Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser who had pled guilty about lying to the FBI concerning his dealings with the Russian ambassador.
Mateo used the debate to emphasize that he had experience working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and stressed that as an advocate for taxi drivers and bodega workers, that helping hurting cabbies was “about being fair, being human, being a real New Yorker.”
Mateo also called for subway stations to become “safe havens” for New Yorkers, with two cops assigned to each station.
“Curtis, when I am mayor, I will sit down with you and you will have a position in my administration taking care of subway services,” he quipped.
Mateo for his part has been mired in a scandal surrounding his now-shuttered restaurant on the Hudson River waterfront, La Marina.
But he defended himself in the debate with Sliwa, saying: “There was nothing wrong that I did or that my partners did,” while adding that he was victimized by city agencies.
Mateo is the founder of Hispanics Across America, an umbrella conglomerate encompassing other Hispanic organizations, including the Northern Manhattan Restaurant & Lounge LLC, NYS Federation of Taxi drivers, and the Bodega Association of America.
But a poll issued by WPIX, NewsNation and Emerson College shows New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Maya Wiley leading the race as early voting opens on June 12th and last until June 20th.
Primary day is June 22nd. More than 180,000 absentee ballots have been mailed out for the primary, but it’s not clear yet how many of those are for the Democratic primaries. There will be a final debate next Wednesday.
Polling has shown crime is the top issue among likely primary voters. Compared to last year, instances of many major crimes are slightly down, but murders are up 12% and shootings are up 68%.
The June primary will be the first citywide election in New York City using ranked-choice voting. The Board of Elections has said it may take until mid-July to determine which candidate won the election because of the rules for absentee ballot returns.