Poll Position: Fighting for relevance

The Guardian Angel, media personality and prolific cat owner Curtis Sliwa has a new venture: breaking the democratic stronghold in Astoria. 

At least, that’s what he plans on doing. Whether he can be successful is a much bigger question.

Sliwa, 68, is no newcomer to politics. BUt even more so, he is no newcomer to generating some media buzz.

As a savvy PR operator, Sliwa knows more than most on how to generate a press cycle. Just back in January, Sliwa was able to generate a similar buzz by announcing his offer to help the mayor clean up rats at his Bed-Stuy apartment with cats.

What both these stories show, more than anything else, is Sliwa’s ability to generate press and cling on to relevance while his political cache has waned in recent years.

His new venture, the Ronal Reagan political club seeks to challenge the growth of DSA within the neighborhood.

“We’re going into the belly of the beast of the Democratic Socialists of America in New York City. We’re going to take on AOC and Caban,” Sliwa said in his announcement.

The club aims to challenge DSA’s grip on the Western Queens neighborhood by  promoting “ fiscal responsibility, small government, and lower taxes in Queens while maintaining an open dialogue with the community about the issues facing them,” per the announcement’s press release. 

While the announcement got some press, his venture to actually make change will be a much more uphill battle and nearly impossible.

In the 2021 City Council election cycle, Tiffany Cában resoundingly won the primary against other more liberal candidates, capturing 62.6 percent of the final vote in the final round. In the general election the candidate only netted 30.5 percent of the vote, a measly 6,209 votes to Cabán general election total of over 12,000 votes. 

The large gap in the polls demonstrates the stronghold that Astoria is. If Sliwa was more interested in actually spreading his message and trying to get more conservatives elected he would focus on closer elections like South Brooklyn or in the Bronx where the issue of crime is much more salient on voters minds and actually has a chance of change in representation.

But of course, this whole announcement was more pomp than anything else –  hoping to score a few headlines for an increasingly irrelevant person in Big Apple politics.

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