2019-02-06 / Features

Race For Public Advocate In Full Swing With Televised Debates


Ten candidates running in the special election for New York City public advocate to fill the open seat left by Letitia James when she was elected New York State attorney general are set to appear in televised debates tonight, February 6th, and in a second one on February 20th. The debates will be broadcast by Spectrum News NY1 and NYC-TV as well as streamed live on NY1.com and the NY1 Facebook page. There is no live audience.

With a requirement to submit a minimum of 3,750 signatures, the Board of Elections finalized the ballot on January 29th, winnowing down a field of 23 candidates submitting petitions to 17, but of that group only 10 have qualified to appear at the February 6th debate by raising and spending at least $56,938.

Candidates appearing at the debate are: former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Queens Assembly Member Ron Kim (40th AD), Queens City Council Member Eric Ulrich (32nd CD), Bronx Assembly Member Michael Blake (79thAD), attorney Dawn Smalls, Brooklyn City Council Member Jumaane Williams (45thCD), Brooklyn City Council Member Rafael Espinal, Jr. (37th CD), Manhattan City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (10th CD), Manhattan Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell (69thAD), and Astoria resident, journalist Nomiki Konst.

Appearing on the February 26th election ballot, but not qualifying for the first debate are: Benjamin Yee, Manny Alicandro, David Eisenbach, Helal Sheikh, Anthony Herbert, Jared Rich, and Brooklyn Assembly Member Latrice Walker (55thAD). Assembly Member Walker recently announced that she has suspended her campaign.

The special election is non-partisan and each candidate must create their own party name for the ballot that cannot resemble an existing political party. The winner of the special election holds office through the end of this year when there will be another election in the fall to determine who goes forward as public advocate for 2020 and 2021, in the next city election cycle.

The office of the New York City public advocate is a citywide elected position that is first in line to succeed the mayor of New York City. The office serves as a direct link between the electorate and city government, effectively acting as an ombudsman for the people. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson assumed the role as acting public advocate on January 1.

The public advocate’s office can be reached at 212-669-7250.

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