At one of her final campaign stops of the public advocate’s race, Councilwoman Tish James repeatedly downplayed the historical nature of her candidacy.
If Ms. James triumphs in the runoff today, she will become the first black woman elected to citywide office. Throughout her campaign her supporters have both celebrated that fact and noted that her opponent, State Senator Daniel Squadron, would be the third white male on the Democrats’s citywide ticket if he wins. But Ms. James insisted this afternoon that history was not on her mind.
Today’s runoff election is expected to draw a dismal turnout with as few as 100,000 of the city’s registered Democrats casting their ballots in the public advocate’s race between State Senator Daniel Squadron and Councilwoman Letitia James.
And that fact was clear this morning as voters began heading to the polls. Instead of the long lines and broken machines that have marred recent election days, voters instead reported lonely, near-empty auditoriums where only a handful of ballots had been cast.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has ducked a potentially divisive primary runoff in the mayor’s race, but the candidates vying to replace him have no such luck.
As their one-on-one face-off heats up, Councilwoman Tish James and State Senator Daniel Squadron are racking up endorsements as they work to secure enough support to reach the 50 percent they’ll need when voters head back to the polls on October 1.
Although the chaotic Democratic mayoral primary has ended with Bill de Blasio emerging the victor, the race to replace the public advocate is just ramping up.
The October 1 runoff between Brooklyn Councilwoman Tish James and State Senator Daniel Squadron is widely seen as a tossup by political insiders, who note each Democrat carries glaring strengths and weaknesses into the contest. While Ms. James has a broad labor coalition and would be the only non-white Democrat to win a nomination, Mr. Squadron has enjoyed a fund-raising advantage and solid debate performances thus far.
The city’s powerful teachers’ union just can’t seem to get mayoral races right.
When the United Federation of Teachers offered its coveted endorsement to Bill Thompson in June, it was seen as a game changer for the candidate. But the union’s efforts came up short yet again, with Mr. Thompson conceding the contest today after placing a distant second.
This is not a new situation for the UFT, which chose to sit out the 2005 and 2009 races, and–as its critics like to point out–last backed a winning candidate in 1989.
Rev. Al Sharpton welcomed “presumptive” Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio to his Saturday National Action Network rally this morning, where he declared that the identity politics of 20 years ago had given way to a new reality.
“What the election showed the other night is that a lot of the identity politics of 20 years ago, 30 years ago, has now become identity politics of policy,” he told the audience. “Bill Thompson did very well in some white areas, Bill de Blasio did well in some black areas. You can no longer take yesterday’s maps for today’s politics.”
A confident Bill de Blasio brushed off suggestions that the Democratic nomination is in limbo, telling reporters this afternoon that he’s moving full steam ahead, regardless of the final outcome of the mayoral race’s count.
“I don’t feel like I’m in limbo,” declared Mr. de Blasio, speaking to reporters at a lively rally in Brooklyn celebrating a judge’s ruling to keep Long Island College Hospital open indefinitely, to supporters’ enthusiastic applause.
“Can I ask the audience, ‘Do I look like a guy in limbo?’” he asked them.
Anthony Weiner dipped his toe back into the mayor’s race this morning, reflecting on Bill Thompson’s decision to stick it out for a possible runoff election
“Lots of Deja Vu from ’05 watching @BillThompsonNYC figure out runoff call,” tweeted Mr. Weiner. “Even same players. Freddy, Cassidy.”
standing his ground
Despite mounting pressure to drop out of the mayor’s race, Bill Thompson emerged from a meeting with his highest-profile backers tonight and again refused to concede a runoff until more votes are counted.
“It continues to become clearer and clearer that there are tens of thousands of votes that are out there. We believe that the votes should be counted,” Mr. Thompson told reporters, standing in the lobby of the teacher’s union headquarters with his wife and a gaggle of supporters, including Congressmen Charlie Rangel and Hakeem Jeffries.
More labor supporters of Christine Quinn’s defeated mayoral campaign are jumping over to Bill de Blasio’s bid for City Hall.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 have joined SEIU 32BJ in endorsing Mr. de Blasio, sending a not-so-subtle hint to his Democratic rival Bill Thompson, who is waiting to see if he can eke into a runoff election.