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.
State senate candidate Andrew Gounardes came to City Hall for a press conference Friday, drawing a substantial group of elected Democrats as he condemned Republican state Senator Marty Golden for paying his female staffers significantly less than his male staffers. Gounardes is running against Golden in the general election.
Elected officials joining Gounardes included Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, Council Member Margaret Chin, Senator Liz Krueger, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Council Member Carlina Rivera, Council Member Justin Brannan, fellow senate candidate Jessica Ramos and Council Member Mark Treyger. There was limited press attendance, possibly due to the discovery that morning of a mail bomb in a West Side post office and a mayoral press conference in Queens.
Chirlane McCray, wife of Mayor Bill de Blasio, joined state senate candidate Jessica Ramos at a Jackson Heights senior center. McCray, who told me two days earlier that she intended to only endorse attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout in the 2018 primaries, joined her husband in supporting Ramos. McCray said that while she had not “formally endorsed” Ramos she is “100% with her.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio continued his energetic support for state senate candidate Jessica Ramos, joining her for a visit to a senior center in East Elmhurst. de Blasio has limited his public endorsements in the 2018 primaries to just a few candidates, with Ramos at the top of his list.
Housing activists organized a march and rally protesting the inclusion of the costs of major capital improvements, or “MCIs,” in calculating rent increases for rent-stabilized and controlled apartments. The march started in Jackson Heights and went to offices of a landlord at 49th Street and 47th Avenue in Woodside. The march attracted competing local politicians including Jose Peralta and Jessica Ramos, competing for a state senate seat, and Ari Espinal and Catalina Cruz, competing for a state assembly seat. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic congressional candidate who defeated incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in June, also participated.
Mayor Bill de Blasio energetically embraced state senate candidate Jessica Ramos, campaigning with her in LeFrak City. Ramos, a former staffer for de Blasio, challenge incumbent and former IDC member Jose Peralta.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon was joined by several aligned candidates at a “Latinx for Cynthia” fundraiser. (“Latinx” is a genderless descriptive in place of “Latino/Latina.”)
Joining Nixon were attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout, state senate candidates Jessica Ramos and Robert Jackson and Assembly candidate Amanda Septimo. Former City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito also attended.
The Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City drew scores of candidates to its endorsement meeting last Wednesday as the first and best known LGBT Democratic club in New York City made its choices in many strongly contested primaries.
Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon pledged to increase state aid to schools, promising that as governor she will increase such aid in accordance with the long ignored provisions of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit settlement. Advocates assert that the City is owed more than $2 billion under the terms of the CFE lawsuit settlement. Speaking at a press conference in Corona Tuesday Nixon reiterated her support for such additional aid, casting it as driven by racial animus with “white, wealthy children … prepared for college, and low-income, children of color … put into the school to prison pipeline.”
New York State senate candidate Jessica Ramos added another elected official endorsement today, as Assembly Member Aravella Simotas expressed her support at a press conference in Astoria. Ramos is running in the Democratic primary against incumbent Senator Jose Peralta. Peralta had been a part of the IDC, the breakaway state senate Democrats who cooperated with Republicans and handed the Republicans control despite being in the minority. Although the IDC and mainline Democrats reconciled in April in an arrangement brokered by Governor Cuomo, Ramos has continued her candidacy and efforts to oust fellow Democrat Peralta.
Democratic candidates Cynthia Nixon and Jessica Ramos exchanged endorsements today, adding to the developing organization of candidates opposed to Andrew Cuomo and the State Democratic Party. Nixon, running for governor against Cuomo, and Ramos, running for state senate against incumbent Senator Jose Peralta, spoke at a press conference in Jackson Heights. Peralta is a former member of the IDC, a group of Democratic state senators who aligned with the Republican members for the past seven years. In April Governor Cuomo engineered a public display of unity between the leader of the IDC and the mainline Senate Democrats but many of those former IDC members, including Peralta, face primary opponents driven by anger at the IDC’s enabling of Republican control of the state senate.
Approximately 1,000 people rallied in Jackson Heights Saturday in support of immigrants and asylum seekers detained by the Trump administration and in opposition to the Trump administration’s policy separating children from their parents. Organized by state senate candidate Jessica Ramos, the rally and march was one of hundreds of similar events held throughout the country, including a larger rally in Lower Manhattan with a march across the Brooklyn Bridge. The Jackson Heights rally was held in front the Post Office on 37th Avenue, with a march along 37th Avenue to the Park of the Americas in Corona.