The Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club brought the rapidly building race for public advocate to the American mainland Wednesday, drawing 12 advocate aspirants to Riverdale for a candidate forum. Candidates participating were Assembly Members Michael Blake, Latrice Walker and Danny O’Donnell, Dawn Smalls, Theo Chino, Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez Jumaane Williams and Rafael Espinal, Nomiki Konst, former Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Ify Ike and Tony Herbert.
Assembly Member Michael Blake held a City Hall Park press conference Wednesday to announce his endorsement by three fellow Assembly members and other political activists. Assembly Members Rebecca Seawright and Tremaine Wright joined Blake at the press conference to declare their endorsement of Blake. Blake announced the endorsement of Assembly Member Jeff Aubry, but Aubry did not attend. Maya Wiley, former counsel to Mayor de Blasio, attended and endorsed Blake.
Former City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito kicked off her campaign for public advocate with a rally Tuesday night. About 150 people joined Mark-Viverito at Borough of Manhattan Community College, including Council members Margaret Chin and Diana Ayala, Assembly Member-elect Carmen Cruz and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz.
Current public advocate Letitia James is expected to resign on or before December 31st so that she can take office as the New York State Attorney General on January 1st, with a special election to fill the vacancy in mid-February.
The New York State Reform Party held a candidate forum Monday night, drawing ten public advocate hopefuls to Dyker Heights. Moderated by Reform Party secretary Frank Morano the forum was well-executed, with candidates given several minutes to pitch their candidacy followed by a variety of substantive questions from Morano. They likely did not sway many voters, however, as the audience (excluding press and campaign staff) barely outnumbered the candidates.
Current public advocate Letitia James is expected to resign on or before December 31st so that she can take office as the New York State Attorney General on January 1st, with a special election to fill the vacancy in mid -February. Candidates participating were Mike Zumbluskas, David Eisenbach, Tony Herbert, Ify Ike, Nancy Sliwa, Peter Gleason, Diane Signorile, John Tabacco, Nomiki Konst and Daniel Christmann.
The special election will be nonpartisan, with no party designation for candidates. Parties are nonetheless able to endorse or support a candidate. Reform Party Chairman Curtis Sliwa, speaking just before the forum, said that the Reform Party will not make any endorsement. (Note: Sliwa’s wife Nancy Sliwa was among the candidates appearing at the forum.)
It’s a challenge to keep track of the multiple candidates running or considering running for public advocate. To help you do that we’ve set up a photo gallery, a book of faces perhaps, of the 21 candidates known to us. Our full photo gallery is available here.
Current public advocate Letitia James is expected to resign on or before December 31st so that she can take office as the New York State Attorney General on January 1st. The City Charter provides that when James resigns the mayor is to, within three days, set the date for a special election. These prospective candidates will then have a short period to legally become candidates for the vacancy by petitioning their way on to the special election ballot.
Seven of the many prospective candidates for New York City public advocate gathered for the first debate of the expected campaign. Current Public Advocate Tish James was elected New York State attorney general on November 6th and she will need to resign before assuming that office on January 1st. That anticipated vacancy will be filled by a special election.
The debate was sponsored by Citizens Union and AARP NY and hosted by New York Law School. It was moderated by Ben Max, executive editor of Gotham Gazette, and featured expected candidates Rafael Espinal, Eric Ulrich, Jumaane Williams, Dawn Smalls, Michael Blake, Danny O’Donnell and Nomiki Konst.
Mayor Bill de Blasio joined mourners in Rockaway for the 17th anniversary of the crash of American Airlines flight #587. The crash killed all 260 people on board and five people on the ground. The flight was headed from JFK to the Dominican Republic and the deceased include many Dominicans and Dominican Americans.
Mayor de Blasio was late to the ceremony in 2014, drawing heated criticism for missing the bell tolling the exact moment of the crash. This year, as in each year since 2014, he arrived early and greeted mourners ahead of the ceremony. de Blasio, who did not take press questions, was the only elected official to attend.
Staten Island Republicans celebration of several election victories was tempered by the loss of their congressional seat, as Rep. Dan Donovan was defeated by Max Rose. Donovan appeared onstage ahead of the other candidates, accompanied only by his family, to offer a concession to Rose.
Attorney general candidate Tish James made a campaign appearance on West 109th Street in the final hours of election day. James was joined by Assembly Member Danny O’Donnell, Council Member Mark Levine and members of the La Guardia High School Democrats.
Former governor George Pataki campaigned with Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro, connecting for an election eve appearance in a Midtown subway station. Pataki’s 2002 reelection to a third term was the last statewide win by a Republican. The last time a New York Republican was elected to a first term in a statewide office was 1994, when Pataki was first elected governor and Dennis Vacco was elected to his only term as attorney general.
Bronx Democrats including House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, state senate candidate Alessandra Biaggi, incumbent NYS Senator Jamaal Bailey and incumbent Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez held a joint pre-election GOTV rally. The rally had the air of a business meeting, with volunteers attentively listening to pre-election direction and encouragement. The audience was especially drawn to Ocasio-Cortez, with candidate doing a lengthy meet and greet after a press Q&A.
The Bayside Hills Civic Association held a candidates night covering three state legislative elections. The competitiveness of those three elections varied dramatically, with Assembly Member Nily Rozic running unopposed, Assembly Member Ed Braunstein heavily favored to win over Republican opponent David Bressler and Democrat John Liu, Independence Party candidateTony Avella, Republican Vickie Paladino and Conservative Party candidate Simon Minching in a heated state senate race. Liu defeated incumbent Senator Avella in the Democratic primary and Paladino defeated Minching in the Republican primary. Avella arrived late, just after the forum concluded. Liu and Avella studiously avoided each other in the post-forum mingling.