At the beginning of 1997, Evan Mandery was a young, practicing attorney with very limited political experience and a yen to jump into a real campaign. I, on the other hand, was a seasoned pol, the former State Chair of New York's Liberal Party, and a former, some-time campaign operative who had found nirvana in government service as one of NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani's Deputy Mayors. Unlike Evan, I had no desire to jump into any campaign. So I didn't jump. I was, however, nudged. Shortly after Evan voluntarily joined Manhattan Borough President and Democratic mayoral candidate Ruth Messinger's campaign as Research Director, Mayor Giuliani asked me to leave his government and serve as his re-election campaign manager. To the uninformed, this might sound like a great honor. Suffice it to say that when asked by a sitting Mayor, who also happens to be your boss, to do something, you tend to say yes. By mid-March 1997, I was an ex-Deputy Mayor sitting virtually alone in an office that would eventually house a typically chaotic campaign headquarters.
Despite the fact that Evan was a willing participant in Campaign '97 and I somewhat less so, and while the positions we held in our respective campaigns were very different, and finally, while we worked for candidates diametrically opposed to one another, Evan is, in many respects, a kindred spirit and, ultimately, a survivor who lived to tell his tale. And it is a tale of all campaign workers, irrespective of party or ideology.
Many books have been written about political campaigns, usually by professional political operatives or strategists, candidates, members of the media, or academics. These works are either overly theoretical (the academic approach) or self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing tomes, burdened with the enormous cynicism that eventually afflicts all political professionals. To my knowledge, Eyes on City Hall is the first of this genre to be written by a virtual political neophyte and, therefore, provides an important and interesting perspective. It is an honest, inside look at a major political contest,