Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


Gotham Votes 2013

Gotham Votes

Endorsement Watch: Schumer Endorses Squadron For Public Advocate

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has endorsed Daniel Squadron for public advocate, giving the state senator’s campaign a boost in the packed Democratic primary.

This is the first time Schumer has endorsed in the city’s pivotal elections, and his support for Squadron carries considerable weight among fellow Democrats.

"Daniel has a proven record of getting results for everyday New Yorkers. From passing landmark new gun laws to rolling up his sleeves to help New Yorkers impacted by Sandy, he knows how to deliver,” Schumer said in a statement earlier today.

Squadron is up against Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, City Councilwoman Letitia James and former teacher Catherine Guerriero for the Democratic nomination. Others registered for the race with the city’s Campaign Finance Board include police community affairs liaison Sidique Wai.

While the office of public advocate is sometimes maligned for being a powerless position, it is a citywide office and can bring the officeholder name recognition. The public advocate’s main responsibility is serving as a watchdog for residents in city government, but also can introduce legislation and weigh in on matters of the budget. The current officeholder is Bill de Blasio, who is running for mayor.

Squadron also received the endorsement of fellow state Sen. Adriano Espaillat yesterday. Espaillat represents Northern Manhattan and the Bronx. Espaillat highlighted Squadron’s support of the DREAM Act in his endorsement.

"Daniel is committed to passing the DREAM Act, so all New Yorkers have the opportunity to go to college,” Espaillat said in a statement.

By Daniel Stein-Sayles


Elections Roundup: Mayoral Candidates Respond to Bloomberg Climate Plan

Rounding up the #NYC2013 news from around the Internet:

Mayoral candidates responded to the wide-ranging climate change adaptation plan unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday. Politicker has most of them here. But of particular interest are the comments from Democrats Anthony Weiner, who was gracious (“There is usually little reward in politics for thinking big thoughts about the distant future.") and Christine Quinn:

"As I’ve said before, strengthening our City against future climate risks, such as the devastation we experienced after Sandy, is this is the single most important infrastructure challenge of our time."

Former subways chief Joe Lhota, the Republican frontrunner, said this:

I commend Mayor Bloomberg for putting in place a roadmap for dealing with the realities of climate change and the impact it will have on our communities. The mayor laid out an ambitious plan that will proactively protect the city in the event of future natural disasters.

See more reactions to Bloomberg’s plan at, a project of Gotham Gazette, veteran journalist A. Adam Glenn and DocumentCloud.

The New York Times looks at the re-election campaign of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes and finds that, in spite of bad publicity, the incumbent seems to be gaining momentum:

Mr. Hynes has appeared increasingly confident on the campaign trail, racking up endorsements, trumpeting his accomplishments and offering well-honed rejoinders to the criticisms. And, at 78, he has used his longevity to his advantage, frequently noting Brooklyn’s 80 percent decrease in crime since he took office in 1990.

Hynes is facing two competitors in the Democratic primary: Abe George, a former assistant district attorney from Manhattan; and Kenneth P. Thompson, a former federal prosecutor. But the Times reports that both Hynes’ rivals have “have so far struggled to capitalize on his apparent vulnerabilities."

The New York City Campaign Finance Board has a new YouTube channel with video clips from past mayoral debates going back to 1997.

Send tips, questions and updates to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Se Puede? Latino Political Power In The 2013 Mayor

By Chester Soria, City Government Reporter

NEW YORK — On a recent Sunday in April, state Sen. Gustavo Rivera and Democratic mayoral nominee Christine Quinn were standing in front of a Bronx bodega when they were approached by a father and his 10-year-old son.

The father, Javier Perez, knew the senator from his work in the neighborhood — and his son had even gone up to Albany to rally against school budget cuts. But Perez didn’t know who Quinn was until Rivera told him.

"I want to introduce you to the next mayor," Rivera said to Perez in Spanish as the father then shook hands with Quinn, who was surrounded by her supporters carrying signs.

Perez praised Rivera’s work in the Bronx and said he trusted the state senator’s judgment. Seeing Quinn walk side-to-side with the Bronx leader convinced Perez that she would also look out for his and his family’s needs.

"Very much so, of course." Perez said in Spanish. “She’s a good candidate."

Quinn’s endorsement from Rivera was the opening salvo in what has become a string of endorsements from Latino politicians and community leaders north of the Harlem River. Last week, Herman Badillo, the first Puerto Rican to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, endorsed former Comptroller Bill Thompson as the candidate to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has the support of Bronx Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda, and former Congressman Anthony Weiner wooed onlookers during this past weekend’s Puerto Rican Day Parade. In fact, all the candidates — Republican and Democratic — were out with flags and campaign signs down Fifth Avenue yesterday.

The city’s Latinos are an increasingly important voting bloc, accounting for almost 30 percent of registered voters. Mayoral candidates, and Democratic candidates vying for their party’s nomination in particular, know this — just as they know that they need the influence of political leaders in the Bronx to sway Latinos in their favor.

At least two candidates have already declared that the Latino vote is vital for their campaigns if they stand any chance of making it to City Hall. Democratic upstart Erick Salgado and independent candidate Adolfo Carrión are two Latino candidates who think they can break through to what may be their most natural base.

Their challenge is the same one that their fellow rivals face: how do they drive a divided Latino electorate to the primary, much less the general election without a clearly defined, signature issue the way immigration has been on the national level.

Without that singular issue, Latino leaders are divided on who they think can best address their community’s needs, making their endorsements all the more important as a means to turn out the vote.

"What you have now is a very disorganized, fragmented kind of political situation," Angelo Falcón of the National Institute for Latino Policy. “There seems to be no real coordination or strategic thinking about the role of the Latino vote."

Continue reading on the Gotham Gazette

Quinn Gets Endorsement From NOW-NYC

"What I can tell you is we’re going to have a woman mayor," City Council Speaker and Democratic mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn declared with confidence at City Hall yesterday.

She was, of course, speaking about herself, as she recognized the endorsement of the local chapter of the National Organization for Women.

"If you look at my record and what I’ve done on issues that matter to all New Yorkers, and issues that matter particular to women, I don’t think anyone else in the race has the same kind of record that I do," Quinn, who is running for the Democratic nomination, said.

With less than 100 days to the primary election, mayoral candidates have been announcing endorsements almost daily. The endorsement from NOW-NYC is important for Quinn, since she has been criticized in the past for holding up the passage of a paid sick leave law that was supported by prominent women activists.

Quinn managed to hammer out a deal on the bill in March, and the Council passed it 45-to-3 in spite of the mayor’s promise to veto it (he did last week).

Quinn and NOW-NYC President Sonia Ossorio ran down the list of the work the Council has undertaken on issues important to women under the speaker’s leadership: establishing penalties for drivers involved in sex trafficking; passing laws protecting access to a reproductive health centers; and supporting the growth of women- and minority-owned businesses.

Contributed by Maya Miller

FiveThirtyEight: Quinn 'Very Likely' To Win Democratic Nomination

FiveThirtyEight has taken a look at public opinion polls going back to 1989 and found that the early Democratic frontrunner in the mayoral race has “a near perfect record" of winning the party’s nomination in the primary. That means, according to the author’s analysis, that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is “very likely" to win the Democratic nomination — given her lead in the polls so far.  MIcah Cohen writes:

In five of the past six Democratic primaries for mayor, the candidate who led in an average of polls conducted in the first six months of the election year advanced to the general election. The only exception was in 2009, when then-Represenative Anthony D. Weiner led William C. Thompson Jr., the New York City comptroller, by five percentage points but decided not to formally enter the race.

53rd State Assembly District

Vito Lopez, the man who held an iron grip on Brooklyn politics for years, was already planning to run for City Council when the Assembly voted to boot him from his seat for his involvement in a number of sexual harassment cases. The details of Lopez’s unwanted advances towards his young staffers were shocking even by Albany standards and they also hurt Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver who had not acted to punish Lopez for his behavior until it became public. Now, anti-Lopez groups have their candidate to fill the seat and Lopez and his backers have two.

Read more: 53rd State Assembly District

86th State Assembly District

Former Assemblyman Nelson Castro resigned in April 2013 after admitting he had worn a wire for most of his time in office after reaching a deal with the Bronx District Attorney’s office. Castro had been caught lying under oath and decided to make a deal rather than go to prison. The full extent of his work in Albany isn’t clear but it appears he snared Assemblyman Eric Stevenson in a bribery plot. Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not call a special election earlier in the year that would have effectively allowed Bronx County Democrats to name Castro’s successor and now a number of challengers have cropped up to replace Castro--some of them embittered that the County Democrats led by Assemblyman Carl Heastie passed them over, and others happy to have Heastie’s backing.

Read more: 86th State Assembly District

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