WINDSOR TERRACE — The city’s first Election Day using ranked-choice voting is in the books, but the final chapter has yet to be written.
Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa won the Republican Party nomination for mayor in the June 22 primary — topping Fernando Mateo, 68.92% to 26.90%, according to the Board of Elections.
Sliwa is looking ahead to the Nov. 2 election, stands ready to face whoever wins the Democratic primary, and is willing to wait as the vote-counting in that contest continues.
“I support ranked-choice voting. I think it makes politics more interesting for everyone,” Sliwa told the Tablet.
Sliwa, who is Catholic, said he relied on his faith during his campaign against Mateo.
“When I’m on the campaign trail, I think of my mother Francesca. She would go to Mass on Sunday, novenas on Monday, and Stations of the Cross,” he said. “And her attitude was always ‘Just trust in God.’ Trusting in God, I’ve overcome so many impediments in my life — having been shot five times, all kinds of medical issues, chronic Crohn’s disease. There have been setbacks in my personal life. But as my mother always said, ‘Trust in God and good things will happen.’ She was always right.”
“That was all based on our Catholic faith,” Sliwa added.
Sliwa, a graduate of St. Matthew’s Elementary School in Crown Heights (which has since closed), said the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart taught him about the joy of giving. “They lived lives of service to others. That had a big, big impact on me as a kid,” he said.
Sliwa believes he surprised people with his victory speech.
“I talked about my principles of law and order and public safety. But I think where I really attracted a lot of attention was the part of me that nobody really recognized — the compassion, the caring for the emotionally disturbed,” he said. “I’m not gonna say I’m like Mother Teresa. But people said they never thought it would be part of my outreach.”
They haven’t been listening, he added.
“This is what I’ve been doing for 42 years. I’ve always helped the homeless and most vulnerable,” Sliwa said. “These are lost souls. We’ve got to look after them.”
While Sliwa opposes any effort to defund the New York Police Department, he supports having social workers go out with cops to handle certain situations involving the mentally disturbed.
“To the point of letting social workers and cops together deal with the situation,” he said, “I don’t have a problem with that.”