Upper Manhattan’s Barack Obama Democratic Club voted last night on its endorsements, and the list might surprise you. The home club of City Councilman Robert Jackson and City Council candidate Mark Levine, a long-time ally of State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, gave its nods to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for mayor and City Councilwoman Letitia James for public advocate.
It also voted to endorse Mr. Jackson for Manhattan borough president and–unsurprisingly–Mr. Levine for the 7th District council seat, currently held by the term-limited Mr. Jackson.
“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.
A crowded field of candidates are vying to replace Councilwoman Tish James, each hoping to leverage every electoral advantage for her Fort Greene-based seat. Accordingly, one contender, Laurie Cumbo, the former head of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, rolled out the support of the small-but-powerful Hotel Trades Council earlier today.
“We are thrilled to announce our support for Laurie Cumbo today,” Josh Gold, the union’s political director, said in a statement.
Yesterday, vandals burned close to a dozen mezuzahs–religious artifacts affixed to doors–in front of Jewish homes in Williamsburg, drawing widespread outrage both in the local community and among candidates for higher office. This morning, several such pols were among the officials at a press conference blasting the perpetrators.
“Today all of us are Jewish and all of us celebrate this wonderful community,” Councilwoman Tish James, a candidate for public advocate, proclaimed. “But I’ve come here today to say that the individual or individuals that is responsible for this most heinous crime will be prosecuted … You will be caught and it is in your best interest to turn yourself in. In fact, I urge you to turn yourself in before anyone in this community gets their hand on you. It’s in your best interest.”
Councilwoman Tish James, who’s currently running for public advocate, will be doing some cable news punditry this weekend. Tomorrow morning, Ms. James will appear on MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayes to discuss her agenda and Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda ban.
State Senator Daniel Squadron announced today that he’s raised more than $2 million in his race for public advocate. Mr. Squadron, who’s facing three other candidates in a Democratic primary, hauled in a total of $2,150,000 in donations and expected public matching funds. He raised $183,000 in the last two months and has spent only $190,000 overall. Read More
Councilwoman and candidate for Public Advocate Tish James wants an apology from the Fox News host who suggested rapes do not occur on college campuses during an appearance on the roundtable show The Five.
“Questioning whether rapes happen on college campuses is deeply offensive to all, especially those who have suffered irreparable harm as a result of these vicious crimes,” Ms. James said in a statement. “Furthermore, when the very existence of rape is challenged in a public forum, such as a widely-viewed cable news channel, it discourages the reporting of an already under-reported crime.”
It was the multicultural American Dream, the only hope of ambitious Russian immigrants and the possible death knell of Orthodox Jewish communities, all at once, at least according to some of those testifying at the redistricting hearing last night in Brooklyn.
It was not the controversial draft map that placed potential Council candidate Vito Lopez in a neighboring district–the aspect of this year’s redrawing of the City Council lines to reflect the new Census numbers that has attracted the most media coverage–that sparked the controversy last night. Rather, two versions of Councilman Michael Nelson’s 48th District offered alternating realities for competing demographic groups, dominating the public hearing in front of most members of the Districting Commission.
'dim sum for daniel'
When it comes to replacing outgoing Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand doesn’t have a favorite, but that doesn’t mean she lacks any political love to share around. Accordingly, Ms. Gillibrand is set to appear at fundraisers for all three of the leading Democratic candidates for the position: Councilwoman Tish James, former congressional candidate Reshma Saujani and State Senator Dan Squadron. The fundraisers for Ms. James and Ms. Saujani had already been rolled out, while Mr. Squadron’s campaign announced their own event earlier this afternoon.
“One of my favorite weekend activities with my wife and 20-month-old son is having dim sum in Chinatown,” Mr. Squadron wrote in an email to his supporters.