Count Me In, Golisano Says in a TV Ad
By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
Published: November 4, 2002
With Election Day just two days away, Gov. George E. Pataki and H. Carl McCall
stormed the campaign trail yesterday to rouse voters to the polls, while their third-party rival, Tom
Golisano, used a paid broadcast to
announce he was still running.
"I have been, and still am, a candidate for
governor," Mr. Golisano, the billionaire
Independence Party candidate said at the
end of a two-minute televised statement.
For three days, Mr. Golisano, who is
running a distant third in polls, had stirred
speculation he was considering dropping
out, but he used the broadcast to deliver
NEW YORK TIMES PHOTO/Moshe Malamud, George Pataki
what was largely a repeat of his stump
Aides to Mr. Pataki, who had been skeptical that Mr. Golisano would drop out and had
called his wavering a publicity stunt to divert attention from the major party candidates, said they
were vindicated. Mr. Pataki's campaign manager, Adam Stoll, said in a statement that Mr. Golisano's
"strange campaign is ending on a stranger note."
Several prominent Democrats had urged Mr. Golisano, who has spent $54 million of
his own money for his third bid for governor, to drop out. Among them was Mr. McCall, the
Democratic nominee, Mr. Golisano told supporters in Rochester last night. According to Mr.
Golisano, Mr. McCall told him, "If you would consider supporting me, I would appreciate it."
Mr. Golisano said he thought about it for quite a while, adding that he concluded that
Mr. McCall, like Mr. Pataki, was part of the same government and political system he finds fault
Mr. McCall did not directly respond to Mr. Golisano's assertion that he had asked for
support, saying only he had not spoken to Mr. Golisano since a debate on Saturday morning. "I'm
not negotiating with anybody," Mr. McCall said.
Mr. Golisano's aides said the two had spoken either Thursday or Friday.
The McCall campaign called Mr. Golisano's broadcast a publicity stunt. "It was a
cynical and manipulative act foisted on the public by a self-indulgent billionaire," said Allen
Cappelli, Mr. McCall's campaign manager.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Pataki, who is seeking a third term, and Mr. McCall, the state
comptroller, hewed closely to their main campaign themes as they sought to excite voters enough to
turn out tomorrow.
Mr. Pataki's large lead in the polls did not deter him from a busy campaign day, spent
mostly in Brooklyn, visiting a conservative section of Bay Ridge and touring three predominantly
Jewish neighborhoods where he has strong support.
At least 3,000 people, most of them Orthodox Jews, turned out for a rally on 13th
Avenue in Borough Park.
Mr. Pataki did a quick walking tour through a Jewish neighborhood in Flatbush, then
went on to Crown Heights, where he met for half an hour with dozens of leaders of the Lubavitch
Hasidim in the house of Moshe Malamud, a business leader who is a longtime supporter and friend
of Mr. Pataki.
Reporters were not allowed into the meeting, but people who attended said the rabbis
and other community leaders had a list of requests for the governor, mostly local community
Mr. Pataki took a short walk in Crown Heights before heading to his final campaign
appearance: a New York State marching band competition in Ramapo, N.Y., where he was to hand
out trophies. Today he is scheduled for a fly-around tour of the state, ending in Cortlandt Manor.
Mr. McCall campaigned across the city, trying to get Democrats to come out and vote
for him. Polls put him about 20 points behind Mr. Pataki.
At times, Mr. McCall showed signs of frustration. During a radio interview, he
complained about what he considered a lack of support from the National Democratic Party.
"I'm not happy with what the Democratic Party's done for me," he said. "Republicans
haven't done anything for us, either."
But at the next stop, at the Buy Israel Fair at a Jewish day school on the East Side, he
said he was not depending on parties, but on the people of New York. "If you come out for me and
stand with me on Tuesday, I'm going to stand with you for the next four years," he said.
He was asked if he had sufficiently energized the black community. "Why just the
black community?" he said. "I want excitement in every community, among Democrats throughout
the state, and there is such excitement."
He appeared with supporters like Senator Charles E. Schumer, who sought to send the
message that no matter what the polls and the pundits say, the election is not over. "We believe we're
going to surprise everyone on Tuesday night," Mr. Schumer said.
During the day, Mr. McCall surprised reporters and aides when he addressed the
Riverside Church on the Upper West Side, and delivered little of his usual stump speech. He told the
congregation that he simply wanted to worship with them. "Before we make big decisions, we should
worship, we should pray," he said.
Mr. Golisano, in his taped announcement — though it said "Live" during the broadcast
— criticized Mr. Pataki for not proposing new ideas and answering few questions about his plans for
another term. He said that Mr. McCall was doing a "fine job" but was "part of a dysfunctional
Speculation about his intentions began Thursday when he pulled and then put back
some television advertisements. Top aides fanned the intrigue, saying he had grown frustrated with
his showing as a distant third behind Mr. Pataki in polls, and with the lack of endorsement from any
major newspaper's editorial board.
But publicly, Mr. Golisano's aides maintained that he remained a candidate, and they
continued to plan events. Today, he is expected fly around the state. Mr. Golisano declined to answer
questions last night.
The end effect of the two-day mini-drama was to draw attention away from Mr. Pataki
and Mr. McCall. For the governor, that was not a huge disadvantage, since he enjoys a strong lead,
but it was harmful for Mr. McCall, who has struggled to gain ground, strategists said.
Mr. Golisano's chief strategist, Roger Stone, has a reputation for such distractions.
"Stone is a master at getting attention and riveting attention on his candidate," said Richard
Schrader, a Democratic consultant not involved in the governor's race.
The televised statement cost about $1.5 million, Mr. Stone said. He denied that it was
a stunt, pointing out that Mr. Golisano told supporters he was considering Mr. McCall's offer. He
said that Mr. Golisano did not make up his mind until Sunday morning. "Now we have a
reinvigorated campaign and we move forward," he said.
NEW YORK TIMES PHOTO/Moshe Malamud, George Pataki