While the odds that the GOP 14th Congressional District candidate Anthony Pappas could possibly beat his challenger, Democratic candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in the upcoming November 6 general election would be close to zero, his being denounced by his own party weeks before the balloting begins shocked the district that’s split between the Bronx and Queens.
After endorsing the 72-yearold professor from Astoria, the Bronx and Queens Republican parties learned of domestic abuse allegations and related suspicions surrounding Pappas and his former wife, and immediately pulled their support for his candidacy. “These are more than allegations, they’re facts,” said Queens GOP chairwoman Joann Ariola. “We wouldn’t have taken such a hard line on just allegations,” she added.
Divorced for 14 years, Pappas’ ex-wife suffered a fractured jaw that required facial reconstruction; she also has a 20-year restraining order against Pappas, Ariola explained.
She, along with Bronx Republican chairman Michael Rendino, learned of Pappas’ misconduct when his bank account was frozen after an attempted withdrawal of $12,000 over the summer.
Pappas then explained to the GOP party leaders that he owed his ex-wife $1.5 million from a decade’s old court settlement. He also shared with them the circumstances that had occurred during his marriage.
According to Ariola, the court battle records documented the evidence of his alleged abuse. “We had known something wasn’t right with him for a while,” Rendino said, going on to explain that Pappas refused to accept campaign advice from the Republican Party. As a matter of fact, he hardly campaigned at all.
In March, Pappas had a lethargic start to his congressional pursuit; even after Ocasio-Cortez stunningly defeated incumbent Joseph Crowley in June, Pappas continued dragging his feet, Ariola explained. The party operatives, alarmed, noted his sluggish campaign style and provided him an opportunity to drop out of the race.
“We approached him in the summer and explained that he had an option to be removed from the ballot if he was hesitant about the campaign,” she said. Pappas declined.
While his Democratic challenger is well known for her extremely savvy social media campaign efforts that has reached millions, Pappas’ Facebook page only received a measly 560 likes.
One of the few signs his campaign was alive included a debate with Ocasio- Cortez, that was slated for Wednesday, October 17, but was later cancelled. Come Election Day, it’s unlikely that Pappas will be quitting his day job as an associate economics and fi nance professor at St. John’s University.
Prior to teaching, he had earned a BS in Economics and Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, continuing to Yale University where he had earned an MA, MPhil, and PhD all in the respective fi eld.
Naturally, most of his campaign platform revolved around economics, honing in on graduated and progressive corporate income taxes. Unfortunately for the Bronx and Queens GOP, Pappas could not be switched out for a less controversial individual and his name will remain on the ballot despite the party disavowing his candidacy.
Ariola and Rendino have both formally denounced Pappas’ congressional candidacy. “It is what it is,” Rendino said. “Enough is enough with him,” he added.
The Bronx Times Reporter reached out to Pappas’ campaign but he did not respond before press time.