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 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.)
Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon appeared at a Union Square rally following the Pro-Cannabis Parade last Saturday, urging full legalization of marijuana. Speaking to about 1,000 people Nixon cast her support as primarily driven by racial disparity in marijuana arrests, declaring that “I want to do it first and foremost because it’s a racial justice issue.”
Legalization has moved close to, if not quite right inside, the political mainstream in recent years. It’s still somewhat outside that mainstream with New York elected officials however, and that distance was reflected in the paucity of electeds and candidates appearing at this rally. Although the rally was fairly heavy on gubernatorial candidates, with Nixon, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Reform Party hopeful Joel Giambra appearing, neither Andrew Cuomo or Marc Molinaro appeared or have voiced support for full legalization. Assembly Member Dick Gottfried, who proudly touted his 1975 bill that decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, and Council Member and candidate for lieutenant governor Jumaane Williams also spoke.