Paul Massey’s first, and likely only, impression of Riverdale was the rather spacious American Legion hall on Corlear Avenue.
There, some two dozen Republicans gathered to hear the mayoral candidate speak, listening to a message attacking current mayor Bill de Blasio, and calling for reforms at all levels.
Afterward, people posed for pictures with Massey, and pledged to vote for him in the upcoming races.
Except Massey’s name is no longer on the ballot.
The real estate developer abruptly pulled out of the race last week just two days after his Riverdale stop, expressing concern that he simply cannot raise the kind of money needed to topple an incumbent like de Blasio.
“I am proud that I contributed to the debate on issues of importance to New Yorkers, including education, housing and homelessness, and that I have provided real solutions for how to better our quality of life in regard to the ongoing transit crisis,” Massey said in a statement. “I love this city. The people I have met over the past year have enriched my life in ways I will never be able to quantify. And for them, I will continue to be a spokesman for the kind of non-partisan results-oriented leadership I have been advocating for all along.”
Massey’s departure for the race leaves just one Republican standing, more or less, in the battle to unseat de Blasio — Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis. She now leads a declared field that includes activist Darren Dione Aquino and serial campaigner Rocky De La Fuente, who doesn’t even live in New York City.
In Riverdale, Massey stuck to his stump speech describing de Blasio as a representative of everything going wrong in the city right now.
“Integrity for us is overcommunicating,” Massey said. “Let everyone in the transaction involved know everything about it. That might be exhausting. But it’s a stark contrast to our current mayor who doesn’t like to talk to anybody, who doesn’t even like the press.”
de Blasio’s lack of communication, Massey said, is not only disrespectful to the press, but also disrespectful to his constituents.
“You should know what’s going on in city hall,” he said.
Massey boasted a campaign warchest of just under $5.8 million, but nearly half of that came from loans he personally made to the campaign. In fact, he spent a little more than $5.1 million, although he only raised $3 million from his supporters since July 2016.
de Blasio hasn’t raised as much yet, according to campaign finance records, but his camp was in far better shape.
The incumbent raised nearly $4.4 million without any personal loans, and has spent just $1.8 million.
In his first run for office in 2013, de Blasio raised $14.6 million — including public funds — challenged only by billionare John Catsimatidis, who virtually self-funded his unsuccessful run in the Republican primary.
Joe Lhota, who recently returned to his job leading the MTA, raised just $6.6 million with public funds included, and was only managed 25 percent of the vote.
“Unfortunately, the cost of running for office is extraordinary, and I do not see a path to raising the necessary funds to beat an incumbent mayor,” Massey said in a statement. “I am forever indebted to my family, team and my friends for their support.”