While it’s been hard to figure out who Tom Allon’s main backers are, or whether they even exist, that hasn’t stopped him from thinking that he could win New York City’s mayoral race. Like Newt Gingrich in the Republican presidential primaries, Allon has had grandiose and unrealistic expectations of victory even as he trailed Democratic front-runner Christine Quinn by large margins in the polls. Weeks ago, he was so visibly offended by the suggestion that he should drop out of the race, that it seemed as if the idea of quitting was more preposterous to him than not getting any votes at all. “I would only run if I thought that I had a good chance,” he told Brian Lehrer.
This morning, however, New York City’s only Jewish mayoral candidate, officially withdrew from the race. And so we, at Tablet, have perceptively discerned that Mr. Allon, who has a mere 500 friends on Facebook and follows almost more often than he is followed on Twitter, may have missed a key fundraising deadline, looked at his estimated balance of $4,217, and found that his chances were significantly slimmer than he thought. As George Arzt, former press secretary to the late Ed Koch told me, “No one is going to support a candidate if they don’t think that he’ll win.”
Luckily, when one subway door closes, sometimes another one opens. It looks as if the former teacher turned journalist turned Liberal Party nominee will now be able to pen his trope for educational reform through his newly acquired political news organization, City and State Wide Media. But the absence of Allon, who has relatives in Israel and whose parents are Holocaust survivors, means that the race is minus a Jewish candidate, and non-Jewish candidates will continue vying to be the more Jewish-friendly by touting their credentials and relationships to the community.
As we have recently heard, Comptroller John Liu had the chance to spend some time in Sderot, Council Speaker Christine Quinn thinks that “New York is Israel and Israel is New York,” Bill Thompson stands with Israel because Israel is our friend, and former MTA chief Joe Lhota, who is Czechoslovakian on his dad’s side, and Italian on his mom’s, must only trace his lineage back two generations to find that he is, surprisingly enough, actually halakhically Jewish, too.
Best of luck to remaining nine or so candidates!
Natalie Schachar is an editorial intern at Tablet. A recent graduate of Barnard College, she has written for the Times of Israel, The Atlantic, The Argentina Independent and Lilith Magazine.