Tiffany Caban appeared to prevail in the Democratic primary for Queens District Attorney Tuesday night, with an election night preliminary lead of just over 1,000 votes out a total of approximately 85,000 reported. Those election night results will be finalized and paper ballots (absentee and affidavit ballots) counted with a final result expected next week, but it appears likely that Caban’s lead over Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold.
Caban’s insurgent candidacy and apparent victory over a candidate supported by much of New York’s and Queens’ Democratic establishment drew support from a small but active group of elected officials. Those electeds include NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, NYS Senators Jessica Ramos, Mike Gianaris, James Sanders, Luis Sepulveda and Julia Salazar, NYS Assembly Members Yuh-line Niou and Ron Kim and NYC Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Brad Lander, all of whom joined Caban on primary night. Other New York supporters included Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cynthia Nixon. Caban was also endorsed by U.S. Senators and current presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Queens district attorney candidate Tiffany Caban held a GOTV rally Sunday, two days ahead of the hotly contested Democratic primary. Caban is one of seven candidates on the ballot (although one of the seven has stopped campaigning and endorsed rival Melinda Katz). The rally, held in Travers Park in Jackson Heights, was organized by NYS Senator Jessica Ramos. Caban was also joined by a large group of endorsers and supporters, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, NYS Senators Mike Gianaris and Luis Sepulveda, Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Brad Lander, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and activist/former candidate Cynthia Nixon.
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.
Governor Andrew Cuomo marked his primary victory over Cynthia Nixon and the start of the general election campaign with a Midtown rally featuring a large group of Democratic elected officials and candidates. Headlined by Cuomo and running mate Kathy Hochul, attendees included New York City’s three citywide elected officials, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate and attorney general candidate Tish James and Comptroller Scott Stringer, as well as Council Speaker Corey Johnson. House members attending included Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Hakeem Jeffries, Joe Crowley, Jose Serrano, Gregory Meeks, Grace Meng, Yvette Clarke, Adriano Espaillat and Tom Suozzi.
Some of the successful challengers to state senate IDC members attended, including Alessandra Biaggi who defeated IDC leader Jeff Klein and Robert Jackson. Notable candidates not spotted included Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Rep. Joe Crowley in the June primary, and incumbent NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. Additionally, Cuomo’s and Hochul’s primary challengers Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams did not attend.
The Bronx County Democrats drew a large field of elected officials and candidates to their annual dinner Wednesday, though Governor Andrew Cuomo and several notable candidates did not attend. Statewide and citywide electeds present included Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer. Hochul and DiNapoli, along with Cuomo, are running for reelection and James, reelected in November as public advocate, is running for attorney general.
Notable non-attendees included Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams, Democrats running for governor and lieutenant governor, and Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez defeated Rep. Joe Crowley in the June 26th primary for the 14th Congressional District, which is roughly 1/3 in the Bronx and 2/3 in Queens. James was the only one of four Democratic candidates for attorney general attending, with Zephyr Teachout, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Leecia Eve not spotted. State senate candidate Alessandra Biaggi, challenging Jeff Klein also (as far as I could determine) did not attend.
Other electeds attending included Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Democratic Chairman and Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, NYS Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, NYS State Senators Jeff Klein and Jamaal Bailey, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Council Members Andrew Cohen, Fernando Cabrera, Andy King, Karen Koslowitz, Daniel Dromm and Francisco Moya.
Approximately 1,000 people rallied in Jackson Heights Saturday in support of immigrants and asylum seekers detained by the Trump administration and in opposition to the Trump administration’s policy separating children from their parents. Organized by state senate candidate Jessica Ramos, the rally and march was one of hundreds of similar events held throughout the country, including a larger rally in Lower Manhattan with a march across the Brooklyn Bridge. The Jackson Heights rally was held in front the Post Office on 37th Avenue, with a march along 37th Avenue to the Park of the Americas in Corona.
New York City’s three citywide elected officials were sworn in to second terms Monday, with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer taking their oaths in front of City Hall on a bitterly cold afternoon. All three were reelected to a second and final term in November, with term limits precluding 2021 reelection bids. They’re able to run for each others offices however, with James and Stringer widely seen as contemplating mayoral runs.
Mayor Bill de Blasio sparked a rally on Wall Street Saturday, literally, but he didn’t boost any share prices. de Blasio headlined a rally held outside the New York Stock Exchange at the intersection of Broad and Wall denouncing the Senate Republican tax bill approved just a few hours earlier. Other speakers included Comptroller Scott Stringer, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
The Queens Tribune and St. John’s University hosted an unusual candidate forum Tuesday evening, putting Democratic and Republican mayoral, comptroller and public advocate candidates together on stage for two hours. Participating candidates included mayoral candidates Nicole Malliotakis, Bo Dietl, Sal Albanese, David Bashner and Mike Tolkin, comptroller candidates Scott Stringer and Michel Faulkner and public advocate candidates David Eisenbach and J.C. Polanco.
We’ll begin near the end, with the Lightning Round questions:
A cold, bitter wind blew across Rockaway Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t the sentiment of residents toward Mayor de Blasio, but an actual wind blowing in from Jamaica Bay during the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The cold temperature and strong wind dampened attendance, but those turning out appeared to have their usual good time. It’s a world apart from the large Fifth Avenue parades, and even from many parades in other parts of the City, with a strong small town feel to it as the parade flows through a suburban neighborhood of single family homes. Green-clothed crowds filled many front lawns and porches, with cheers for the marchers interspersed amid a steady flow of eating, drinking and talking.
Governor Andrew Cuomo offered interesting introductions of some political friends and frenemies today. As he began his State of the State tour today in Manhattan Cuomo noted the presence of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (“doing great work with us, please stand”), Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (“doing a great job”), NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (“let’s give him a round of applause”) and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer (“doing a magnificent job”). He’s had significant friction with Schneiderman, although they’ve had a much more cooperative relationship in the past 18 month, a fraught relationship with DiNapoli since Cuomo was attorney general and a dizzyingly difficult relationship with de Blasio.
Perhaps due to an apparent cold/sore throat, Governor Cuomo also referred to “Cardinal O’Connor” when thanking Cardinal Dolan for offering a blessing before Cuomo took the stage.
New York City’s three citywide elected officials – Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Tish James and Comptroller Scott Stringer – and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito joined a press conference today demanding federal action to address Puerto Rico’s deep fiscal and financial crisis. Puerto Rico’s government and related public authorities owe more than $70 billion to creditors, an amount which Puerto Rico’s governor recently termed “unpayable”, with looming large payments pushing the Commonwealth toward a critical moment.
The City Hall Plaza press conference, hosted by the Hispanic Federation, called for a laundry list of federal actions, including implementing “a federal investment plan”, eliminating Jones Act requirements that goods shipped between Puerto Rico and other places in America be transported on U.S. ships with U.S. crews, changing the U.S. bankruptcy code to allow Puerto Rico and its government related enterprises to file bankruptcy petitions and urging President Obama to “explore a Federal Reserve loan” and “oppose severe austerity.”
Puerto Rico’s crisis is decades in the making. With a shrinking population and a shrinking economy Puerto Rico has long borrowed to fund operating costs. As described in a recent report commissioned by the Puerto Rican government, Puerto Rico’s fiscal shortcomings have been masked and ultimately worsened by poor fiscal and accounting practices.
The press conference produced an infrequent appearance of all three citywide elected officials and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito – the “CW3+MMV”, perhaps – at an event. There appeared to be polite interaction among them, but no sign of great warmth.