Our focus is on New York politics, both city and state, but the gallery includes other shots of New York. Among the campaigns we’ve covered are the 2013 and 2017 mayoral races, the 2014 and 2018 gubernatorial races, congressional primaries in 2014, 2016 and 2018, the 2016 New Hampshire Republican presidential primary and the 2019 public advocate special election. NYTrue.com began in late 2012, with mostly video and little photography in 2012 and 2013, so this is a somewhat truncated decade retrospective that covers 2014-2019.
Special Bonus – Unabridged Gallery:
For those of you who really love New York politics we have an expanded decade retrospective gallery with lots of great shots that didn’t make it into the decade highlight gallery. Take a look, and a walk down memory lane, here.
We’ve included a few 2013 iPhone shots in a brief addendum at the end of the expanded gallery.
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.
An election-eve report that public advocate candidate Jumaane Williams was arrested in 2009 during a domestic dispute with his then-girlfriend prompted a pair of dueling election-eve press conferences outside Brooklyn Borough Hall. Rival candidates Melissa Mark-Viverito and Nomiki Konst appeared first, expressing concerns over Williams’ reported arrest and actions and calling on him to disclose more information. Shortly after they concluded a group of Williams supporters appeared, arguing that a written statement issued by Williams was sufficient. That group included Jumaane Williams’ mother Pat Williams and senior advisor to the Williams campaign L. Joy Williams (no relation to the candidate).
The National Action Network hosted a public advocate candidate forum, drawing 12 candidates to its House of Justice in Harlem. The Rev. Al Sharpton made opening remarks and introduced the candidates but did not moderate or attend the forum. Candidates participating included Ydanis Rodriguez, Ben Yee, Jumaane Williams, Manny Alicandro, David Eisenbach, Tony Herbert, Nomiki Konst, Dawn Smalls, Ron Kim, Danny O’Donnell, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Michael Blake.
NY1 broadcast the second and final televised public advocate candidate debate, held at Borough of Manhattan Community College. The “leading contenders” debate featured seven candidates selected pursuant to NYC Campaign Finance Board criteria, Nomiki Konst, Michael Blake, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Dawn Smalls, Rafael Espinal, Jumaane Williams and Ron Kim. Press photography of the debate was limited to only pool coverage, but full press access was allowed in the post-debate spin room.
Harlem’s Frederick Samuel Democratic Club drew four candidates to a Harlem public advocate candidate forum co-sponsored by the Michelle Obama Community Democratic Club. Danny O’Donnell, Dawn Smalls, Jumaane Williams and Michael Blake spoke separately, with Manhattan Democratic Chairman Keith Wright moderating. The Frederick Samuel Club and Wright previously endorsed O’Donnell.
The Co-op City Working Families Party hosted a public advocate candidate forum, drawing nine candidates. Dawn Smalls, Eric Ulrich and Manny Alicandro participated in the first panel discussion (which I did not attend), Ron Kim, Ben Yee, David Eisenbach, Rafael Espinal and Jumaane Williams participated in a second panel and Michael Blake was interviewed solo by moderator Ray Raimunidi.
The United Progressive Democratic Club, led by Assembly Member William Colton, hosted a public advocate candidate forum at its Bath Beach headquarters. Candidates participating included Jared Rich, Ben Yee, David Eisenbach, Rafael Espinal and Jumaane Williams.
Five local civic groups, Hearts Across Queens, Hunters Point Civic Association, Long Island City Coalition, PrimedOutNYC and Sunnyside Woodside Action Group, hosted a public advocate candidate forum at the Irish Center in Long Island City. Candidates participating included Ben Yee, Danny O’Donnell, David Eisenbach, Dawn Smalls, Jumaane Williams, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Michael Blake, Nomiki Konst, Rafael Espinal and Ron Kim. Ify Ike, previously a candidate but unsuccessful in getting on the February 26th ballot, also participated. Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who previously endorsed Jumaane Williams, was the only non-candidate elected official to attend.
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.
Nine candidates attended a public advocate forum at Medgar Evers College sponsored by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Arena Summit and the Alpha Kappa Alpha chapter of Delta Rho Omega. Candidates included Dawn Smalls, Ben Yee, Jared Rich, Tony Herbert, Michael Blake, Ydanis Rodriguez, Rafael Espinal, Eric Ulrich and Jumaane Williams.
One of the three candidate panels was the complete set of current City Council members running for public advocate: Eric Ulrich, Rafael Espinal, Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams.
The Vanguard Independent Democratic Association drew eight public advocate candidates to a forum at Boys & Girls High School in Bed-Stuy. Participating candidates included Ben Yee, Nomiki Konst, Dawn Smalls, Michael Blake, Jared Rich, Tony Herbert, Rafael Espinal and Jumaane Williams. The forum was moderated by Esmeralda Simmons and Brian Vines.
The Powhatan and Pocahontas Democratic Club and the Taminent Regular Democratic Club co-hosted a public advocate candidate forum that drew ten candidates to Astoria on a bitterly cold night. Candidates attending included Ron Kim, Danny O’Donnell, Dawn Smalls, Jumaane Williams, Jared Rich, Ydanis Rodriguez, Michael Blake, David Eisenbach, Nomiki Konst and Rafael Espinal.
Neither club endorsed a candidate at the forum and it’s my understanding that neither club intends to endorse in the race. Of the elected officials attending the forum, Council Member Costa Constantinides has endorsed Nomiki Konst and NYS Senator Michael Gianaris and Assembly Member Aravella Simotas each said that they have not endorsed in the race and are uncertain whether they’ll do so.