A large group of East Side Democratic clubs hosted a public advocate candidate forum Thursday night, drawing 13 aspiring advocates and an audience of 150-200 people to the New York New Church on East 35th Street.
Candidates participating included Ify Ike, Nomiki Konst, Dawn Smalls, Rafael Espinal, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Danny O’Donnell, Latrice Walker, Jumaane Williams, Michael Blake, Ben Yee, Ron Kim, David Eisenbach and Theo Chino. Gwen Goodwin attended part of the forum and was introduced by the moderators, but did not participate or address the audience. Sponsoring clubs included the Eleanor Roosevelt Club, Four Freedoms Club, Tilden Democrats, GSID, East River Democrats, Village Independent Democrats, Chelsea Democrats and Manhattan Young Democrats.
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.
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 Sojourner Truth Democratic Club and the NYC Black and Latino LGBTQ Coalition co-hosted a public advocate candidate forum, drawing 13 candidates to the Fifth Avenue Social Adult Day Center at 112th Street and Fifth Avenue.
The Bay Ridge Democrats hosted a public advocate candidate forum, drawing a steady stream of aspiring advocates eager to pitch the vibrant club for its support. The Bay Ridge Democrats were part of two significant electoral victories in November, with Democrat Andrew Gounardes unseating incumbent Republican NYS Senator Marty Golden and Democrat Max Rose defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Dan Donovan.
Public advocate candidates appearing included Rafael Espinal, Danny O’Donnell, Michael Blake and David Eisenbach. (Other candidates appeared before I arrived.) Many of the candidates had participated in an earlier forum at Wagner College.
Bay Ridge Democrats President Chris McCreight said that the Club plans to endorse a candidate at its January 10th meeting.
The Arena and Staten Island Women Who March hosted the first Staten Island public advocate candidate forum, drawing 10 candidates to Wagner College. The candidates appeared in two separate panels, with Melissa Mark-Viverito, Theo Chino, Dawn Smalls and Mike Zumbluskas on the first and Danny O’Donnell, Rafael Espinal, Ify Ike, Michael Blake and Ben Yee on the second. Jumaane Williams, scheduled to be on the first panel, arrived during the second panel and was given a few minutes at the end of the forum to speak.
13 professed candidates for public advocate appeared at a forum hosted by the Upper West Side’s Community Free Democrats Thursday night. Ify Ike, Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez, Jumaane Williams and Rafael Espinal, David Eisenbach, Assembly Members Michael Blake, Danny O’Donnell and Latrice Walker, Theo Chino, Nomiki Konst, Ben Yee, Dawn Smalls and former Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito had several minutes to address the audience and then field audience questions. Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal moderated the forum.
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.
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.
Cynthia Nixon, Jumaane Williams and Zephyr Teachout brought their 2018 campaigns to a close with a shared primary night party in Flatbush. They each lost their race by a wide margin but there was nonetheless a sense of celebration driven by their own belief in their campaigns and by the defeat that night of six of the eight state senate IDC Democrats, including IDC leader Jeff Klein. Nixon, Williams and Teachout had endorsed and supported the IDC challengers and their statewide campaigns provided connective tissue for the separate and scattered IDC challengers.
Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul and Jumaane Williams met for their only debate Wednesday. Moderated by Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max and hosted by the Manhattan Neighborhood Network in its midtown studios as part of its Race to Represent initiative, the debate was a brief 30 minutes. Although each party’s candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run as a ticket in the general election there are separate primaries for the two offices.