The first televised debate among public advocate candidates featured 10 contestants in an Errol Louis-moderated slugfest and a protest by one of the six candidates excluded from the debate. The debate was hosted and televised by NY1.
Eleven candidates, ten of whom expect to be on the February 26th special election ballot, joined a forum focused on health issues including HIV/AIDS prevention and education, substance use, mental health, LGBT rights, and discrimination. Sponsored by GMHC and hosted by the New School, the forum was moderated by NY1 reporter Grace Rauh and featured candidates Theo Chino, David Eisenbach, Nomiki Konst, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Jared Rich, Dawn Smalls, Jumaane Williams and Ben Yee. Rafael Espinal participated in much of the forum, departing before it concluded, and Latrice Walker joined for the last few minutes. Daniel Christmann also participated; he’s a self-described candidate but did not submit petitions to the Board of Elections and will not appear on the February 26th ballot.
16 candidates attended a public advocate candidate forum hosted by the New Kings Democrats in Brooklyn Heights. Moderated by Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max and Daily News editorial board member Alyssa Katz, the forum featured the following candidates in four separate panels: panel #1 – Gwen Goodwin, Rafael Espinal, Dawn Smalls and Theo Chino, panel #2 – Melissa Mark-Viverito, Mike Zumbluskas, Tony Herbert and David Eisenbach, panel #3 – Daniel Christmann, Jumaane Williams, Ron Kim and Michael Blake and panel #4 – Nomiki Konst, Latrice Walker, Ify Ike and Ben Yee.
Held in Brooklyn Heights’ First Unitarian Congregational Society the forum drew an audience of approximately 200. Several Brooklyn Democratic organizations held endorsement meetings immediately afterward, with the New Kings Democrats and Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats announcing endorsements of Council Member Jumaane Williams.
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.