The city’s powerful teachers’ union voted today to endorse Bill de Blasio for mayor–after snubbing him during the Democratic primary in favor of Bill Thompson.
“Mr. Thompson has asked us to support Mr. de Blasio because he knows–as well as Mr. de Blasio knows–the city can no longer afford to go in the direction which it has been going for way too long,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew told reporters gathered tonight at the union’s Lower Manhattan headquarters after its delegate assembly had formerly voted for the second time this election season.
It’s still good to be Bill de Blasio.
The first public poll taken since Democratic and GOP voters selected their mayoral nominees shows Mr. de Blasio far ahead of Republican Joe Lhota.
Bill to Bill
Even Bill Thompson’s supporters are now saying publicly that it’s time for him to end his campaign and rally behind Bill de Blasio as the Democratic Party’s nominee for mayor.
“In an election year with so many tough decisions on crucial issues, we must begin a new chapter today by uniting behind our Democratic nominee for New York City’s next mayor,” Assemblyman Walter Mosley, a former Thompson endorser, announced in a statement this afternoon. “I am proud to support Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.”
Election Day: 2013apalooza
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio–a once obscure public official with a name few at first could pronounce–declared victory tonight, and now stands on the cusp of winning the Democratic nomination for mayor without a runoff.
The latest returns put Mr. de Blasio at slightly over 40 percent of the vote–a feat once deemed all-but-impossible in a crowded field of five candidates.
crossing the aisle
Democrat Magda Katz walked into a breakfast this morning for Republican Joe Lhota knowing little about the candidate. By the time she left, she said, she was sold.
Frustrated by the current crop of Democratic candidates, Ms. Katz–a life-long Democrat–said she was impressed by Mr. Lhota’s background managing the city’s finances and his efforts in the days after 9/11, which were recounted by his old boss, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who spoke at the breakfast.
Could it be a preview of the battle to come?
Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota found themselves face-to-face yesterday evening at the Staten Island Ferry terminal, where the candidates had scheduled overlapping campaign events. The rare occasion offered a glimpse of the potential fiery dynamic many are expecting if the two mayoral front-runners go on to win their parties’ primaries this Tuesday.
“That’s the first Democrat I’ve seen in my 88 visits to Staten Island!” quipped Mr. Lhota, after spotting Mr. de Blasio and his team entering the terminal, which is often considered prime Republican territory.
West Side Story
In a city where a prostitute-patronizing ex-governor and a pathological cybersexter can launch viable campaigns, Aaron Braunstein still manages to be one of the more singular candidates for public office this year.
Sipping a Red Bull and droning with a straight face about how he once won a Rolls Royce in a high-stakes Vegas card game, Mr. Braunstein is an unlikely City Council candidate for an even unlikelier district: the high-minded Upper West Side, where Mr. Braunstein, the father of Orange is the New Black actress Natasha Lyonne, lives alone in a cluttered apartment that once belonged to Mike Tyson.
“I talk to the biggest people in the world. I read Tolstoy, Hunter Thompson, I collect antiques … I mean, I’d vote for me,” Mr. Braunstein recently told Politicker, speaking in a Brooklyn rasp that conjured Godfather- era Marlon Brando. Mr. Braunstein was sporting a pencil moustache along with a three-piece suit, flowing scarf and silver tie peaking out from his vest. A gray ponytail flowed down his back, and on Mr. Braunstein’s plump ring finger was an ancient Roman coin the size of a silver dollar that he said had been fished out from the Mediterranean Sea.
The week before Vito Lopez resigned, the state ethics commission released a scathing 68-page report that detailed a lurid pattern of abuse in his district office.
According to the allegations, the former assemblyman once lamented the existence of statutory rape laws in the presence of a 14-year-old intern. Mr. Lopez demanded massages from female staffers, including one who cried and expressed her discomfort as a former rape victim. At a bar one evening, he grabbed an employee’s hands from across the table. When she tried to pull away, he tightened his grip. When she began to cry, Mr. Lopez said he’d release her only after she counted to 60. When she did, he stared at her for the full minute.
After resigning from his Assembly seat on Monday morning, Mr. Lopez is said to be contemplating a seemingly unfathomable second act: running for City Council. Given the accusations against him, what’s more surprising is that even his detractors acknowledge that Mr. Lopez actually has a viable path to victory.
A Bipartisan Ship
John Catsimatidis may be campaigning for mayor on the Republican line, but the billionaire businessman is willing to cross the party aisle for his consultants. Accordingly, Mr. Catsimatidis hired Millennial Strategies LLC, a political shop stacked with mostly Democratic operatives.
Brad Gerstman, a partner at the firm, told Politicker that Mr. Catsimatidis is their only Republican client, but given New York City’s Democratic tilt, the move makes plenty of sense for the GOP Gracie Mansion hopeful.
For local races, New York City overwhelmingly tilts towards the Democratic Party and there are only a handful of Council campaigns with the potential to be competitive in this November. The race for outgoing GOP Councilman Jimmy Oddo’s seat is likely to be one of them. And, according to a source active in local politics, the Democratic establishment is backing Mendy Mirocznik, a non-practing rabbi and lawyer, for the Staten Island district.
“We’re seeing fewer education dollars, less transportation options, deteriorating roads and there seems to be no relief in sight,” Mr. Mirocznik said in a statement announcing his candidacy yesterday. “Meanwhile, our small-businesses, the economic engine, of our community are struggling to survive – that is not a recipe for recovery. We need an advocate who will reverse this trend and bring real results for Mid-Islanders, and I believe I can do that.”