The County Committee of the Democratic Party of the County of New York held its biannual organizational meeting Thursday, electing its officers in a raucous 90 minutes amid hundreds of chanting and shouting county committee members. The highly structured organizational meeting was in reality rather disorganized, with a lengthy delay to the start and mid-meeting disputes as the organizers were pressed to follow the party’s rules.
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.
Our full public advocate special election photo retrospective gallery is available here.
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.
Assembly Member Keith Wright brought his campaign for the Congressional seat held by Charles Rangel to a close this afternoon, conceding defeat to Adriano Espaillat in a Harlem press conference. Joined by about 20 elected officials, including Rangel, and two of the other candidates in the race, Wright and Espaillat made a public display of unity standing in front of Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem as Wright acknowledged that Espaillat’s 1,200 vote lead in the preliminary vote totals would hold through counting of absentee and affidavit ballots and the final canvassing of poll site voting machines.
Rangel, who strongly supported longtime ally Wright in the race, anchored the joint appearance with kind words for both men. Other elected officials attending included Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Public Advocate Tish James, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and state and city legislators from the Bronx and Manhattan.
13th Congressional District candidate Keith Wright condemned reported activity of a PAC supporting rival candidate Adriano Espaillat which has been characterized as voter suppression. Speaking as he accompanied Congressman Charles Rangel to vote today, Wright described those actions as having “brought up all of the ghosts of the civil rights movement … all of the ghosts of Jim Crowism … all of the ghosts of poll taxes” and declared that such tactics have “no place at all in any political activities here in this community.” Rangel expressed surprise that “they are … so stupid to actually put it in writing,” describing such actions as “shameful.”
“I couldn’t find my name. But I’m so glad I did find his name” said Congressman Charles Rangel after voting in his first congressional election in more than 45 years in which he was not a candidate. The “his” was Assembly Member Keith Wright, a longtime Rangel ally whom Rangel has endorsed as 13th Congressional District Democrats select a nominee to replace Rangel.
Rangel arrived at Harlem’s P.S. 175 to vote accompanied by his wife Alma and Wright. Appearing a few minutes ahead of schedule, Rangel spoke with the press both before and after voting, expressing support for Wright, but clearly not in a rush to leave office or the spotlight. Rangel loves the camera and it loves him right back, as shown in the two press Q&A’s Rangel did this morning, one as he arrived and a second after voting.
Many of the questions focused on Rangel’s emotions as a successor is selected and on his post-Congress plans, but he and Wright also addressed allegations that supporters of rival Adriano Espaillat have sought to suppress voting by African American voters in the District.
Here are Rangel’s two press Q&A’s:
Update – Photo Gallery:
Seven candidates for the 13th congressional district seat currently held by Charles Rangel met for a candidate forum Sunday. Hosted by the Allianza Dominicana Cultural Center, the forum featured Adam Clayton Powell IV, Michael Gallagher, Assembly member Keith Wright, Suzan Johnson Cook, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Clyde Williams and Assembly member Guillermo Linares.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and many other New York City elected officials joined a Harlem rally Saturday demanding the renewal of rent regulations. Hosted by Assembly Housing Committee Chairman Keith L.T. Wright, the rally drew a modest crowd of about 200 people. Speakers included the Rev. Al Sharpton, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Rep. Charles Rangel, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Members Brian Kavanagh and Guillermo Linares, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Members Inez Dickens, Vanessa Gibson, Ben Kallos and Jumaane Williams.
With the legislative session rushing toward conclusion next week, expiration of the soon-to-sunset state laws governing rent stabilized and rent controlled apartments is an ever-increasing possibility. While it’s still likely that they’ll be renewed, the prospect of expiration is driving City Democrats into increasingly frantic efforts to renew and expand those laws. For Mayor Bill de Blasio it’s both an essential part of a core focus of his mayoralty and yet another chapter in the story of his friction-filled relationship with Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Here are the remarks of selected speakers:
Mayor Bill de Blasio:
Today Governor Andrew Cuomo brought his campaign to a close with three rallies across the state. He kicked off the day in Manhattan with a very large labor-driven rally at the edge of Times Square. The rally marked Cuomo’s first 2014 campaign appearance with both Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, each of whom are also up for reelection tomorrow. Kathy Hochul, multi-party candidate for lieutenant governor, was also part of the rally. Held out on 7th Avenue, the rally stretched at least two blocks (visible to me), with the Cuomo campaign reporting that the rally went for four blocks.
It was a strong showing in support of the four statewide candidates, with many of the leading names in New York’s labor movement speaking. Among them were George Gresham of SEIU 1199, Stuart Appelbaum of RWDSU, Gary LaBarbera of the Building & Construction Trades Council, Hector Figueroa of 32BJ and Peter Ward of the Hotel Trades Council.
Left unsaid by the labor leaders and candidates, however, was which party or ballot line they’re urging their supporters to choose in voting for all four candidates. All four are Democrats who also appear on the Working Families Party, Independence Party and Women’s Equality Party ballot lines. Cuomo has energetically pushed the “Women’s Equality Party”, a ballot line he created this year. Many see that effort as attempt to draw votes away from the Working Families Party, which counts many of the same unions appearing today as it’s core constituency.
With the rally held a stone’s throw from the theaters of Broadway, it seemed fitting that Hector Figueroa set part of his rally speech to music.
Update – Cuomo Speech:
Governor Cuomo gave a fiery speech today, harshly attacking Republicans who use “hate” to “try to divide us”. Our full analysis is here. Here’s his full speech:
Update #2 – Highlights:
Here’s our highlight reel:
Mayoral candidates flocked to today’s Dominican Day Parade.
To start our coverage, here’s a short clip from Anthony Weiner’s parade visit. It’s important to note that Anthony Weiner wore his special red pants to the parade. To set the scene, during a momentary break in the parade I put my camera down on a very short tripod, with this clip as the result.
Update #1 – Eliot Spitzer:
We spoke briefly with comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer. (We also looked for Scott Stringer. A group of his supporters marched past, but he was not with them.)
Update #2 – Erick Salgado:
We spoke with mayoral candidate Erick Salgado about his exclusion from an upcoming mayoral candidate debate to be televised on WABC-TV.
Update #3 – Anthony Weiner:
Here’s a montage of Anthony Weiner
marching running through the parade.