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.
Moderated by Club President Michael Heller the forum had an audience of approximately 50 people, with candidates given an opportunity to make a statement followed by audience questions.
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 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.