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.
Assembly Member Michael Blake rolled out additional endorsements Thursday, announcing support from fellow Bronx elected officials. NYS Senator Luis Sepulveda, Assembly Member Nathalie Fernandez and Council Member Rafael Salamanca appeared with Blake on the steps of the Bronx County Civil Courthouse. Campaign co-chair Nathalie Molina Nino also joined them, with Molina Nino MC’g the press conference.
Assembly Member Ron Kim held a public advocate campaign kickoff today, seeking a boost as the campaign formally began. Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a proclamation this morning setting the special election for February 26th and triggering an immediate start to the petitioning period. Kim, who has been one the 30 or so professed candidates campaigning ahead of the actual declaration of an election, moved promptly today to set his campaign in motion.
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.
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.
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez held a kickoff rally Sunday for his campaign for public advocate. Rodriguez is in a field of at least 23 people who have taken steps toward running, with three of his current council colleagues and one former colleague among those 23. He’s been actively campaigning, appearing at candidate forums over the past few weeks, and the kickoff was a formal declaration of a campaign that is well underway.
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.
Assembly Member Michael Blake held a City Hall Park press conference Wednesday to announce his endorsement by three fellow Assembly members and other political activists. Assembly Members Rebecca Seawright and Tremaine Wright joined Blake at the press conference to declare their endorsement of Blake. Blake announced the endorsement of Assembly Member Jeff Aubry, but Aubry did not attend. Maya Wiley, former counsel to Mayor de Blasio, attended and endorsed Blake.
Former City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito kicked off her campaign for public advocate with a rally Tuesday night. About 150 people joined Mark-Viverito at Borough of Manhattan Community College, including Council members Margaret Chin and Diana Ayala, Assembly Member-elect Carmen Cruz and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz.
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, with a special election to fill the vacancy in mid-February.
The New York State Reform Party held a candidate forum Monday night, drawing ten public advocate hopefuls to Dyker Heights. Moderated by Reform Party secretary Frank Morano the forum was well-executed, with candidates given several minutes to pitch their candidacy followed by a variety of substantive questions from Morano. They likely did not sway many voters, however, as the audience (excluding press and campaign staff) barely outnumbered the candidates.
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, with a special election to fill the vacancy in mid -February. Candidates participating were Mike Zumbluskas, David Eisenbach, Tony Herbert, Ify Ike, Nancy Sliwa, Peter Gleason, Diane Signorile, John Tabacco, Nomiki Konst and Daniel Christmann.
The special election will be nonpartisan, with no party designation for candidates. Parties are nonetheless able to endorse or support a candidate. Reform Party Chairman Curtis Sliwa, speaking just before the forum, said that the Reform Party will not make any endorsement. (Note: Sliwa’s wife Nancy Sliwa was among the candidates appearing at the forum.)
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.