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.
Last night the council speaker forum series rolled into the Talking Transition tent for a forum moderated by Errol Louis and Juan Manuel Benitez and broadcast live on NY1 and NY1 Noticias.
Here’s an insightful question asked by Louis: Describe one piece of legislation that you think speaks most directly to why you would be a good city council speaker? Their answers:
Weprin: Workplace Religious Freedom Act.
Vacca: Pregnancy Rights Act.
Palma: a bill to provide shelters with adequate food and supplies in the event of a future severe storm (not specifically named in her answer).
Mark-Viverito: ICE Out of Rikers.
Garodnick: Tenant Protection Act.
Dickens: a bill centralizing plumbing complaints to the Department of Buildings (not specifically named in her answer).
Update – Corey Johnson:
We spoke with Council Member-elect Corey Johnson about the public forums, the speaker selection process and the progressive bloc’s timing and process.
Update #2 – Full Forum:
Here is the full forum: