An election with 17 candidates, after 31 aspirants expressed interest and campaigned, and a comparatively short three months of campaigning. Triggered by Tish James’s November election as New York State attorney general and resulting resignation as public advocate, the public advocate special election was, for New York, a unique electoral experience. Held with an unprecedented number of candidates and the absence of established party designations or nominations it was New York City’s first citywide special election. Candidate forums were the predominant public campaign activity, with several dozen held around the city by a wide range of civic and political groups. Our gallery has moments from the start to finish – take a look.
The Rev. Al Sharpton drew a large contingent of elected officials to his annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at National Action Network’s House of Justice. Headliners included U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Reps. Jerry Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke and Carolyn Maloney. NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Council Speaker and Acting Public Advocate Corey Johnson, NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and NYS Senate Temporary President and Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins also spoke.
Several of the public advocate candidates participated, including Assembly Members Latrice Walker, Michael Blake and Danny O’Donnell, Council Members Jumaane Williams and Rafael Espinal, former Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Dawn Smalls. Walker, Blake, O’Donnell and Smalls were given speaking slots. Former mayor David Dinkins and former congressman Charles Rangel appeared, sitting onstage in the front row for the full program.
New terms, lots of candidates, fiercely fought elections, victories and defeats both surprising and not. Lots happened in 2018 New York politics and we’ve distilled the year into our 2018 Year in Photos.
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson held a press conference calling for police action against members of the alt-right group “Proud Boys” for their actions following an appearance by Gavin McInnes, founder and leader of the “Proud Boys,” at the Metropolitan Republican Club. After McInnes’ appearance fighting broke out on nearby streets, with video showing “Proud Boys” members beating protesters. The Met Club’s clubhouse had been vandalized ahead of McInnes’ appearance, with a broken window and spray painted doors visible behind Johnson. Johnson was joined by fellow Council members Ben Kallos, Keith Powers, Donovan Richards and Rory Lancman and Assembly members Rebecca Seawright and Dan Quart.
Republican state senate candidate Pete Holmberg was at the press conference, although not invited to join it. Holmberg, a Met Club member who was present at McInnes’s appearance, had a seemingly conciliatory conversation with Johnson ahead of the press conference but the press conference ended with Holmberg, Johnson and Paxton Hart (also a member of the Met Club) shouting at each other as Johnson departed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo marked his primary victory over Cynthia Nixon and the start of the general election campaign with a Midtown rally featuring a large group of Democratic elected officials and candidates. Headlined by Cuomo and running mate Kathy Hochul, attendees included New York City’s three citywide elected officials, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate and attorney general candidate Tish James and Comptroller Scott Stringer, as well as Council Speaker Corey Johnson. House members attending included Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Hakeem Jeffries, Joe Crowley, Jose Serrano, Gregory Meeks, Grace Meng, Yvette Clarke, Adriano Espaillat and Tom Suozzi.
Some of the successful challengers to state senate IDC members attended, including Alessandra Biaggi who defeated IDC leader Jeff Klein and Robert Jackson. Notable candidates not spotted included Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Rep. Joe Crowley in the June primary, and incumbent NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. Additionally, Cuomo’s and Hochul’s primary challengers Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams did not attend.
Deceased NYPD Detective Steven McDonald was memorialized on the one year anniversary of his death with a plaque at the NYPD’s Central Park Precinct. As a patrolman assigned to Central Park McDonald was shot and grievously wounded in 1986, surviving but rendered quadriplegic. He nonetheless remained actively involved with the NYPD for the rest of life, deeply admired for his tenacity and optimistic outlook.
Newly elected Council Speaker Corey Johnson visited the Rev. Al Sharpton Saturday, joining Sharpton for his weekly rally and radio broadcast at the National Action Network. Council Members Jumaane Williams and Robert Cornegy also appeared.
Sharpton expressed disappointment that none of the African-American candidates for speaker succeeded, but nonetheless gave Johnson a warm welcome. Underpinning that welcome was Johnson’s active support and campaigning for Sharpton in his 2004 presidential campaign.
Council Member Corey Johnson became Council Speaker Corey Johnson, drawing nearly unanimous support after besting rivals in the informal process preceding the vote. Receiving the support of Congressman and Queens County Democratic Chairman Joe Crowley appeared to seal the speakership for Johnson ahead of the vote and that expectation came to fruition Wednesday with Johnson receiving 48 of the 49 votes cast.
In remarks on the floor during the Council Charter session Council Member Inez Barron offered herself as an alternative speaker candidate, harshly criticizing the absence of any black speaker among the four people who’ve held the position and the continuation of that reality with the selection of Johnson. While drawing supportive remarks from several of her colleagues Barron did not draw any of their votes. He spoke movingly of his mother and their close relationship, embracing her just after his election.
Johnson was warmly praised by many of his colleagues who noted both his professional accomplishments and his personal journey. First coming to public attention as a high school football player who revealed himself as gay, and now H.I.V. positive, Johnson has also openly shared his past substance abuse struggles.
Mayor Bill de Blasio headlined a protest outside Trump Tower Tuesday, declaring opposition to the Republican tax overhaul bills currently in process in Congress. de Blasio was joined by Assembly Members Jo Anne Simon and David Weprin and Council Member Corey Johnson, along with several dozen other protesters. President Trump was not in Trump Tower, or elsewhere in New York, during the protest.