Reshma Saujani’s campaign for public advocate is getting a boost from Silicon Valley, with contributions from some of high-tech’s biggest names.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is among the contributors who will appear in filings the campaign expects to file today with the city’s Campaign Finance Board. Grammy-award winner John Legend also chipped in.
It’s not a surprise, but it’s a key part of Reshma Saujani’s strategy as she campaigns for public advocate this year.
The Alliance of South Asian-American Labor, a group that’s worked to mobilize South Asian voters in past elections, officially threw their support to Ms. Saujani today, vowing to help elect her as the city’s first official of South Asian descent.
“It was very surreal,” Brooklyn City Councilwoman Letitia James said, reflecting on the moment her predecessor was assassinated. “When I got the news that he had been shot, I said, ‘I think I know who did it.’”
Othniel Askew wanted to run against Councilman James Davis. Instead, on a City Hall balcony in July of 2003, he drew a silver .40-caliber pistol and started shooting–killing Mr. Davis and setting events in motion that would place Ms. James in public office.
“The person who assassinated him visited me the night before,” Ms. James recalled, speaking with Politicker recently at a Manhattan campaign office.
Last night, the labor-backed Working Families Party announced their support in a host of races across the city, beginning with Tish James for public advocate and working their way down to open-seat council campaigns.
The endorsement for Ms. James, a Brooklyn councilwoman, is particularly notable because, with a less sizable campaign war chest than her top rivals, Ms. James’ strategy relies on unifying union forces. There are two other citywide races this year, but without a strong labor consensus for mayor and a virtually uncontested race for comptroller, the public advocate competition is relatively unique.
State Sen. Dan Squadron’s campaign for public advocate continued to hum along today as he announced six endorsements from Albany’s lower legislative chamber: Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Brian Kavanagh, Micah Kellner, Dan Quart, Joan Millman and Nily Rozic.
He may be running for mayor, but Bill de Blasio’s last campaign is still causing headaches. Mr. de Blasio’s 2009 campaign for public advocate was fined more than $20,000 Thursday for various violations by the city’s campaign finance board.
The fines range from $300 for failing to file a daily disclosure statement, to $1,625 for accepting nine over-the-limit contributions that it eventually refunded, and $1,750 for accepting contributions from eight unregistered political committees, which the campaign also eventually reimbursed.
In December of last year, Politicker published a seven-page 1979 Essence magazine article where Chirlane McCray, the wife of mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, frankly discussed her identity as a lesbian. The news made waves, amplified by a New York Post cartoon condemned as offensive. Now, more than six months after our report and decades after the original essay, Ms. McCray returned to Essence‘s pages to discuss Mr. de Blasio, her sexual identity and more.
“I came out at 17. I hadn’t really dated any men. I thought, Whoa, what is this?” she said at one point in the Essence interview, when asked about entering her relationship with Mr. de Blasio. “But I also didn’t think, Oh, now I’m attracted to men. I was attracted to Bill. He felt like the perfect person for me.”
The Kids Don't Stand A Chance
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is a big fan of the band Vampire Weekend, apparently.
“I just can’t wait for the new album, Modern Vampires in the City!” Mr. de Blasio, a candidate for mayor this year, says in a promotional video released today. “It’s something that I’ve been waiting for. I can’t wait for it to come out.”
Later this morning, Reshma Saujani will officially launch her public advocate campaign, an ambitious bid for one of two competitive citywide races this year. But as she lays out her agenda, it won’t be the same Reshma Saujani politicos remember from her 2010 primary against Upper East Side Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. In that campaign, she embraced her “Pro-Wall Street Democrat” label, but now, Ms. Saujani says she’s focused on a whole new slate of issues.
“Oh my God, so much!” she told Politicker when asked if she’s learned from her experiences since then, including a stint in the public advocate’s office. “Since 2010, I have a record–a progressive record–of accomplishment. There are people in the city who I have helped put on a path of economic prosperity, that are in college because I fought for them. There are people in jobs because I fought for them … In 2010, that was harder to demonstrate, right? Because I was working as a lawyer in the private sector.”
Bigger Than Hip Hop
Himanshu “Heems” Suri, one of the members of the rap group Das Racist, has a preferred candidate to replace Public Advocate Bill de Blasio: Reshma Saujani. Mr. Suri tweeted about his support over the weekend, and writing to Politicker in an email yesterday, Mr. Suri elaborated by arguing that Ms. Saujani’s candidacy will help the South Asian community find its political voice.
“She has raised over a million dollars for this race and will be a very well resourced candidate,” he explained. “She will be investing more into South Asian turnout than anyone ever has. … We will probably have the highest South Asian voter turnout ever this year because of her on the ballot and the resources she will be putting in it. This is the most qualified and well resourced candidate from the community ever.”