PA Candidate Count: 27+4=31 (Updated)

We’re up to 27 31 candidates for the expected vacancy in the office of public advocate.  Update:  In ~24 hours since this was published we’ve become aware of four more candidates.  They’re added below.

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.

Our candidate list is informal and includes anyone who has participated in a candidate forum, registered with the New York City Campaign Finance Board as a 2021 candidate for public advocate or issued a public statement declaring or launched a website in support of their intended candidacy.  As a legal matter there are no “official” candidates as there is not yet a vacancy and therefor there’s no special election set.  Without an actual election there is not any process or mechanism to legally become a candidate.

Once the mayor sets the special election, as he’s required to do within three days of the vacancy occurring, petitioning will follow.  Candidates will need to submit petitions containing at least 3750 valid signatures, in form and substance meeting the complex requirements of the Election Law.  That process will likely narrow the field as prospective candidates may either fail to meet the petitioning requirements or, faced with the cost and effort of petitioning, simply decide to not proceed.  It’s also possible that more candidates will appear as the only cutoff for new candidates is to complete petitioning on the schedule that will be set by the NYC Board of Elections.

Our initial candidate count, published on November 30th, listed 21 candidates (with a photo of each!), each of whom had participated in at least one candidate forum:

Michael Blake
Theo Chino
Daniel Christmann
David Eisenbach
Rafael Espinal
Peter Gleason
Tony Herbert
Ify Ike
Nomiki Konst
Melissa Mark-Viverito
Danny O’Donnell
Ydanis Rodriguez
Diane Signorile
Nancy Sliwa
Dawn Smalls
John Tabacco
Eric Ulrich
Latrice Walker
Jumaane Williams
Ben Yee
Mike Zumbluskas


Six additional candidates have appeared on the scene since our initial list:

Sami Disu
Gwen Goodwin
Walter Iwachiw
Ron Kim
Danniel Maio
Abbey Laurel-Smith

Kim and Goodwin have participated in at least one candidate forum and registered with the NYCCFB as 2021 candidates, Disu has launched a website and Iwachiw, Maio and Laurel-Smith have registered with the NYCCFB as 2021 candidates.

Update:  In the ~24 hours since this report was published we’ve learned of four additional candidates:

Jared Rich
Raph Schweizer
Helal Sheikh
Curtis Sliwa

The Queens Chronicle reported that Sliwa has declared his candidacy, Schweizer announced his candidacy on Twitter & Instagram, Rich has a Facebook page and Sheikh has a website up.  Additionally, Manny Alicandro tweeted that he’s “considering running.”  He’s not yet on our list of candidates, but may if he takes affirmative steps toward running.

The special election will be nonpartisan, with no party designation for candidates and no party nominations.

Four of the candidates (Blake, Kim, O’Donnell and Walker) are currently members of the NYS Assembly, four (Espinal, Rodriguez, Ulrich and Williams) are currently members of the NYC Council and one (Mark-Viverito) is a former member and former speaker) of the NYC Council.  Some have unsuccessfully run for public office while a few are first time candidates.

Our full coverage of the race is available here.