Roy M. Goodman

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Roy Matz Goodman (March 5, 1930 – June 3, 2014) was an American politician. He was born in New York City and was the grandson of Israel Matz, founder of the Ex-Lax company. Goodman received an undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1951 and a master's degree from the same education institution in business administration in 1953.

Political career[edit]

Goodman was the New York City Director of Finance under Mayor John Lindsay in 1966 and 1967 and Chairman of the New York Republican County Committee from 1981 until 2001.

He was a member of the New York State Senate from 1969 to 2002, sitting in the 178th, 179th, 180th, 181st, 182nd, 183rd, 184th, 185th, 186th, 187th, 188th, 189th, 190th, 191st, 192nd, 193rd and 194th New York State Legislatures.[1] He served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Investigations, Taxation and Government Operations.[2] He was considered a leader of the liberal Rockefeller wing of the New York State Republican Party. Goodman's supporters would sometimes refer to him as "The Statesman of the State Senate." One of Goodman's 1968 campaign posters was on display in a bar scene in the 23 June 2013 episode of Mad Men, entitled "In Care Of."

In 1977, Goodman ran for Mayor of New York City. He defeated Barry Farber, a talk radio host in the Republican primary. In the general election, Goodman finished third behind Democratic Congressman Edward I. Koch and New York Secretary of State Mario Cuomo, a Democrat who ran on the Liberal Party ticket.

Role in the 1990 governor's race[edit]

Goodman is notorious among New York Republicans for his role in picking Pierre Rinfret, the Republican Party's candidate for New York State governor in 1990. State Republicans had difficulty in finding a candidate to run against the Democratic incumbent Mario Cuomo, who was considered unbeatable. Goodman checked his Rolodex and found Rinfret, whom he knew socially.[3][4] Goodman picked Rinfret because he was pro-choice on abortion and, as a millionaire economist, could spend some of his own money on the campaign. Rinfret's campaign quickly became a disaster and a national laughing-stock for the Republicans. He often made angry outbursts and bitterly attacked his fellow Republicans. On Election Day, Rinfret received about 21 percent of the vote and barely outpolled Herbert London, the candidate of the Conservative Party of New York State.

As New York County Republican Chairman[edit]

In 1981, Goodman became chairman of the New York County (Manhattan) Republican Party. In Goodman's first decade as county chairman, the only other Republican elected official in Manhattan was liberal Congressman Bill Green who won Mayor Ed Koch's old congressional seat in 1977,

Goodman's tenure in the 1990s witnessed the expansion and then the contraction of the Republican Party in Manhattan. In 1990, Republican John Ravitz was elected to the NYS Assembly. In 1991, Charles Millard was elected to the New York City Council. In 1993, Andrew Eristoff also won election to the Council.

In 1992, Bill Green was ousted by Carolyn Maloney, who has been in Congress ever since. Millard attempted to win back the seat for Republicans in 1994, but he was soundly defeated. Both Millard and Eristoff eventually left the City Council, and their seats were won by Democrats. In 2002, Ravitz ran for Goodman's seat in a special election, but lost to Liz Krueger. Ravitz decided not to seek re-election to the Assembly in the fall, and Democrat Jonathan Bing took his seat.

Goodman himself was nearly defeated in 2000 by Liz Krueger. At first, Krueger was leading Goodman by several hundred votes. After a recount and the counting of the absentee ballots, Goodman was declared the winner in late December. Goodman resigned from the State Senate in early 2002.

Since Goodman's departure from office, no other Republican has been elected to office in Manhattan.

Other service[edit]

Goodman was President and CEO of the United Nations Development Corporation, a position he first occupied in 2002.

He was a Fellow For Life of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a patron of the Metropolitan Opera, a Patron of the New York Philharmonic Society, president of the Goodman Family Foundation, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts from 1985 to 1989.[5]

He attended Camp Androscoggin.[6]


Goodman died of respiratory failure in Danbury, Connecticut on June 3, 2014 at the age of 84.[7]


  1. ^ Ramirez, Anthony: "Goodman, Ex-Senator, Is Hospitalized After Choking", The New York Times, March 12, 2008, 2:43 pm [1]
  2. ^ John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters: "Nomination of Roy M. Goodman To Be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation",'The American Presidency Project', 14 February 1989 [2]
  3. ^ New York Times (November 7, 1990) "The 1990 Elections: New York-Cuomo's Re-election Unchallenged Victor; A Mismatched Race Against Rinfret Left the Governor Largely Untested"
  4. ^ New York Times (November 8, 1990) "The 1990 Election; The 1990 Campaign: Moments to Remember; Moments Best Forgotten
  5. ^ Thomas E. Luebke, ed., Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, 2013): Appendix B, p. 545.
  6. ^ "The Executive Life; And No One Mentions The Many Mosquitoes"New York Times, June 14, 1992
  7. ^
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Whitney North Seymour, Jr.
New York State Senate
26th District

Succeeded by
Liz Krueger
Party political offices
Preceded by
John J. Marchi
Republican nominee for Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Ed Koch