Editor’s Note: Every Friday, we will be posting a brief rundown of new developments in the primary races for citywide office.
Race for Mayor
Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang is the leading candidate to be the city’s next mayor, according to a recent poll.
He has a double digit-lead over the next highest ranked candidate, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, despite riding out the pandemic outside of the five boroughs. Yang’s strength seems to be his name recognition, the poll found. Eighty-four percent of those polled had heard of Yang compared to 66% who had heard of New York City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer.
Yang has drawn criticism for his aggressive in-person campaigning despite the pandemic –– and he even caught COVID-19 while doing it –– but it looks like it’s working in his favor.
The fight over the ballot petitioning is ongoing.
Multiple mayoral candidates signed onto a lawsuit against Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio calling on the courts to cancel the petitioning period because of the dangers posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Mayoral candidates Adams, Maya Wiley, Carlos Menchaca, Art Chang, and Stephen Bishop-Seely are all plaintiffs.
Mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia is not a part of the lawsuit but she pledged to not challenge any of her opponents petitions if petitioning remains a requirement for getting onto the ballot.
In the world of policy, Stringer released his transit infrastructure plan for if he’s elected as the next mayor.
It’s a 17 point plan that will “revamp and redesign NYC’s transit and streets networks for pedestrians, bicycles, straphangers, and businesses alike,” according to the press release.
Adams had a lot to say about restaurants reopening for indoor dining on Friday night.
In a press conference outside of a restaurant in Crown Heights, Adams condemned the restrictions facing restaurants as they reopen their indoor dining spaces. It makes no sense that New York City restaurants are limited to 25% capacity and have to close at 10 p.m. when restaurants elsewhere in the state don’t face the same restrictions, he said.
There’s always lots of candidate forums and events happening –– here’s two from this week.
Mayoral candidates are often asked how they will help fix the homelessness crisis in the city but it’s not often that they are asked directly by homeless people themselves. In a recent forum, however, they had to confront the issue and those affected by it head on.
Shams “Da Homeless Hero” DaBaron and Corrine Low of the UWS Open Hearts Initiative moderated the forum while New Yorkers currently experiencing homelessness posed questions to the candidates over video.
Candidates were also challenged in a forum about the future of food earlier this week in a forum moderated by NY1’s Errol Louis.
And the endorsements just keep on coming.
Chef and restaurateur of Red Rooster in Harlem Marcus Samuelsson endorsed Ray McGuire for mayor.
Stringer was endorsed by the Grand Street Dems.
And the Four Freedoms Democratic Club will be hosting their endorsement meeting on February 18 where they will hear from the candidates and vote on who they will support in the mayor’s race.
Race for Comptroller
State Assemblymember and candidate for New York City Comptroller David Weprin had a busy week.
He released his official campaign video on Tuesday and announced that he plans to open a Comptroller Office in each of the five boroughs if elected.
The goal is to provide individuals and small businesses in financially underserved communities easier access to economic opportunities, financial institutions, and small business relief assistance, he said in a press release.
“A major part of improving the City’s fiscal health is making sure economic opportunities are available to all New Yorkers, no matter their background,” said Weprin. “These borough offices will serve as community economic empowerment centers where working and middle-class New Yorkers can improve their financial literacy, gain access to financial institutions and increase their access to economic opportunity. This is particularly crucial in low-income and immigrant communities that have historically been financially underserved.”
Providing these services, however, is outside the scope of the Comptroller’s office so we’ll see what happens to this plan if he’s elected.
Meanwhile, New York City Comptroller Candidate Michelle Caruso-Cabrera announced that she, too, wants restrictions lifted on restaurants.
Caruso-Cabrera called for the lifting of the 10 p.m. curfew on New York City restaurants to midnight as soon as possible, calling it an essential next step as the city gears up for the resumption of indoor dining.
“Restaurants – and the hardworking men and women who work in them – are the lifeblood of New York City, and they have been pummeled by this pandemic and the economic fallout that has ensued. Governor Cuomo took an important first step in reopening indoor dining, and I hope he will continue to do right by them, and raise the curfew,” she said.
And finally, City Councilmember and candidate for comptroller Brad Lander announced his plan to overhaul the city’s capital projects if elected as New York City Comptroller.
According to his website, his plan would “overhaul the City’s capital process to get projects built on-time and on-budget, save the City millions of dollars, focus better on the neighborhoods that need it most, support economic recovery, create high-quality jobs for New Yorkers, and prepare our city for a more sustainable and resilient future.”
Endorsements were announced in the comptroller race as well.
Weprin was endorsed by the East River Democratic Club.