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.
Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams endorsed each other Sunday, establishing an alliance that many voters assumed existed between the two candidates opposing the incumbent governor and lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary. Speaking at a press conference on the edge of Prospect Park, Nixon and Williams were endorsed by the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America before they endorsed each other. Following the press conference the two candidates spent considerable time greeting attendees and passersby. They briefly walked into Prospect Park but quickly changed course, having already spent their allotted park time greeting people those attendees and passersby, and instead headed out to knock on doors on surrounding blocks.
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.
The New York Working Families Party completed its rejection of Andrew Cuomo, nominating Cynthia Nixon for governor and Jumaane Williams for lieutenant governor at its recent convention. The WFP had endorsed Nixon and Williams in April, but those endorsements did not actually place them on the ballot as candidates. The party held a two-part session at Harlem’s First Corinthian Baptist Church, with a formal nominating meeting in an upstairs room followed by a rally and candidate speeches in the church’s main hall.
The Working Families Party endorsed Cynthia Nixon for governor and Jumaane Williams for lieutenant governor, rejecting its 2014 path of political accommodation and instead supporting Nixon and Williams over Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. The 2014 endorsements were contentious, with a pragmatic view of the utility of supporting Cuomo’s reelection overcoming the ideological kinship many in the party had with Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu. Several large unions have left the WFP since then however, with 32BJ and CWA withdrawing just ahead of the Nixon endorsement.
The New York Progressive Action Network, an activist group that grew out of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, recently endorsed Cynthia Nixon for governor and Jumaane Williams for lieutenant governor.
The Democratic Rural Conference drew nearly all of New York State’s major Democratic elected officials to its 2018 annual meeting, with Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, NYS Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand leading the elected attendees. Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, NYS Senator Michael Gianaris, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and NYC Council Member and candidate for lieutenant governor Jumaane Williams also attended. The DRC is composed of Democrats from small counties who for the past 20 years have worked jointly to increase their impact in state politics.
Newly elected Council Speaker Corey Johnson visited the Rev. Al Sharpton Saturday, joining Sharpton for his weekly rally and radio broadcast at the National Action Network. Council Members Jumaane Williams and Robert Cornegy also appeared.
Sharpton expressed disappointment that none of the African-American candidates for speaker succeeded, but nonetheless gave Johnson a warm welcome. Underpinning that welcome was Johnson’s active support and campaigning for Sharpton in his 2004 presidential campaign.