The Democratic race for Public Advocate came to a close Monday night as the two remaining candidates attended their last joint forum. Letitia James and Daniel Squadron addressed the Bayswater Civic Association, in the Bayswater section of Rockaway. They spoke separately, crossing paths briefly. Squadron arrived toward the end of James’ presentation, sitting quietly in the audience. As James left, they exchanged smiles and a quick wave.
We spoke separately with each, asking the same two questions: First, your thoughts as you close out the last night of a long campaign? Second, your thoughts on the ugly turn in the race? Here’s what they had to say.
We began our coverage of the Public Advocate’s race at the first candidate forum, held in Astoria in February, available here. We have lots of coverage since then, available here.
The two remaining Democratic Public Advocate candidates, Letitia James and Daniel Squadron, met in a televised debate last night. With a week to go until Tuesday’s runoff election, the candidates had a sharp, often personally contentious, meeting. The full debate, hosted by NY1 and moderated by Errol Louis and Brian Lehrer, is available here.
That tone continued in their post-debate comments to the press. Both candidates attacked the perceived faults of the other, with closeness to Mayor Bloomberg a featured item. (In March we asked the candidates for their view of Mayor Bloomberg and his tenure. Both praised some of his specific accomplishments, but varied in how harshly they assessed his overall record. You can watch those interviews here.) I asked both candidates whether they have asked the current Public Advocate, and Democratic mayoral candidate, Bill de Blasio for his endorsement. Their answers? “I haven’t” and “good night everybody.”
Here are the full post-debate Q&As with each candidate.
In the race for Public Advocate, that is. Preliminary results from the Democratic primary for Public Advocate have Letitia (“Tish”) James at 36% and Daniel Squadron at 33%. It appears highly unlikely that the final count will have either over 40% and a runoff election will therefor be held in the Democratic Public Advocate primary.
We spoke with Tish James this morning outside the National Action Network’s House of Justice, where James had just appeared with Al Sharpton and other candidates, including Bill de Blasio. I asked James how she thought the runoff would differ from the five person primary. She aptly notes that there will almost certainly be more attention given to the PA race than it received it the primary. I also asked about her defeated rivals.
The four leading Democratic candidates for Public Advocate speak highly of the current Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio. None have endorsed him for mayor, however, with only one of the four candidates publicly supporting any mayoral candidate. (Cathy Guerriero supports Bill Thompson.) After their televised debate yesterday, we asked all four candidates why.
In what is likely the only televised Public Advocate primary debate, five Democratic candidates jousted on-air last week. (Video of the full debate is available here from NY1.) The race remains both close and out of the public eye, with the most recent public poll (from NBC 4 NY/WSJ/Marist) reporting that 49% of “likely” Democratic primary voters are undecided. Of the likely voters who have a preferred candidate, it’s 16% for Tish James, 12% for Cathy Guerriero, 12% for Daniel Squadron, 3% for Reshma Saujani and 2% for Sidique Wai.
Last night, the Brooklyn Young Democrats hosted a candidate forum in the little-noticed race for New York City Public Advocate. The forum featured four Democratic candidates; Council Member Letitia James, former Deputy Public Advocate Reshma Saujani, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Cathy Guerriero, and was moderated by Colin Campbell, senior editor of The New York Observer and kingpin of Politicker.com.
The forum was held at a bar in Downtown Brooklyn – our apologies for the poor lighting.
For more background on the role and structure of the office of Public Advocate, watch our interview with the current Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio.
You can watch some of our earlier coverage of the Public Advocate race here, here and here.
We asked State Senator Daniel Squadron, a candidate for Public Advocate, whether he will endorse a mayoral candidate and whether he thinks the mayoral race is focused on the right issues. Watch what he had to say.
Be sure to also watch our coverage of Squadron’s endorsement rally here.
I asked Manhattan Republican Chairman Dan Isaacs whether there are any Republican candidates for Public Advocate. Here’s what he had to say.
Even without the party’s recent legal problems, Public Advocate is a tough office for Republicans. Created in 1994, the office has been held only by Democrats. In the last general election, the Republican candidate for Public Advocate received about 14% of the vote, and in the two prior elections Republicans did not even have a candidate on the ballot.
That challenge is exponentially tougher with the recent disarray following the Smith/Savino/Halloran/Tabone troubles. The Bronx County chairman was arrested and resigned. The Queens Vice Chairman was arrested and resigned, reigniting a long-running factional battle which threatens the Queens Chairman’s hold on his seat. The Brooklyn Chairman is in a battle with one of the few elected Brooklyn Republicans (with Dan Isaacs engaged on behalf of the Brooklyn chairman). Staten Island also recently replaced it’s County Chairman. With those troubles, the county organizations face a challenge in any effort at working together and, whether fair or not, can expect heightened scrutiny and skepticism if they do.
Will there be any Republican candidates? Will they have any realistic chance of winning or of at least helping the Republican mayoral nominee? Be sure to check back with us for updates.
Here’s your chance to meet the four Democratic candidates for Public Advocate. We spoke with them at a candidate forum hosted by the Community Free Democrats, an Upper West Side political club.
Here is our report.
Be sure to watch our prior coverage of the race, including a report from an earlier candidate forum and a lighthearted look at one moment of the Community Free Democrats’ forum, as well as a first look at the Republican race.
That list appears to be shorter than the list of Democratic council members calling for a 4th Bloomberg term.
As far as NYTrue.com can determine, there are not yet any Republican candidates for Public Advocate. (There are four, recently down from five, active Democratic candidates.)
At the Republican mayoral candidate forum hosted by Crain’s today, I briefly spoke about this with two Republican county chairs. Dan Isaacs of Manhattan and Craig Eaton of Brooklyn both confirmed that they do not know of any publicly declared Republican candidates for Public Advocate. They also, however, said that they hope to make a unified choice of a candidate, suggesting that they hope that one of the current mayoral candidates ends up as the Republican Public Advocate candidate. They both added that they think the office of Public Advocate should be abolished.
If you are, or plan to be, a Republican candidate for Public Advocate, please let us know – we would like to talk with you.
Update: You can find our coverage of the Democratic candidates here.
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