Nine candidates attended a public advocate candidate forum at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights sponsored by the New Visions Democratic Club, the Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club of Queens and the John F. Kennedy Democratic Club. Participating candidates included David Eisenbach, Michael Blake, Jared Rich, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Rafael Espinal, Tony Herbert, Jumaane Williams, Ben Yee and Dawn Smalls. Council Member Danny Dromm was the sole elected official to attend. Dromm said that he has not endorsed a candidate in the special election and is uncertain whether he’ll do so.
Who are they? Here’s a photo gallery of the public advocate candidates to help you get to know them. We published an early photo gallery featuring 21 prospective candidates, and the group later rose to 31. We’ve ended up with a reduced, though still quite large, field of 17.
The Board of Elections set the final ballot at a hearing Tuesday, ruling on the validity of several candidates contested petitions. 17 candidates were approved and will be on the ballot, although not all willingly. Assembly Member Latrice Walker’s campaign attorney said that despite having submitted sufficient petitions and qualifying for the ballot Walker does not intend to campaign and unsuccessfully sought to have her removed from the ballot. We’ve included Walker in our photo gallery.
The Stonewall Democratic Club endorsed Assembly Member Danny O’Donnell for public advocate Wednesday night, choosing to support the first openly gay man elected to the New York State Assembly. Former Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Assembly Member Michael Blake also energetically sought the endorsement, with Mark-Viverito speaking at the endorsement meeting and Blake addressing the club via face time as he rode the train from Albany to New York City after an Assembly session.
Council Member Jumaane Williams also appeared in person at the endorsement meeting but conceded in his opening remarks that he was unlikely to win the endorsement. He faced questions on both having contributed money to candidates seen as anti-LGBTQ and on past positions on several issues, including bans on “conversion therapy” and not supporting GENDA.
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.
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.
Fourteen public advocate candidates participated in a forum at Brooklyn Law School focused on sustainability and the environment. Moderated by Politico reporter Gloria Pazmino and sponsored by the New York League of Conservation Voters, the forum was the first to focus on sustainability. Candidates participating included Ben Yee, David Eisenbach, Dawn Smalls, Eric Ulrich, Ify Ike, Jared Rich, Jumaane Williams, Latrice Walker, Michael Blake, Mike Zumbluskas, Nomiki Konst, Rafael Espinal, Walter Iwachiw and Ydanis Rodriguez.
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.