NYC's Public Advocate Special Election

Screen Shot 2019-01-04 at 3.03.28 PM.png

New York City voters are going back to the ballots!  NYC Public Advocate Special Election Officially Set for February 26. This race is expected to have more than two dozen candidates.

This past week, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a proclamation setting February 26th as the date for the New York City’s Public Advocate special election.  

Who is the Public Advocate? The Public Advocate is the second highest-ranking elected official in the city, who champions the public and ensures the city's agencies are responsive to their needs.  

Why is there a Special Election? 


Screen Shot 2019-01-04 at 3.08.16 PM

Well, the former Public Advocate, Letitia James, was elected to the office of Attorney General this past November. She was sworn into office this week, officially becoming the first African-American Attorney General of New York.  Ms. James is the states’ 67th Attorney General, and is the first woman to be elected to the position.  “It is the highest honor to officially begin my time as the Attorney General for the great state of New York,” James said in a statement from the office.

Her departure means the office of Public Advocate for New York City is open. City Council Speaker Cory Johnson has temporarily assumed the office. He will be the Acting Public Advocate until the February special election.

For this February’s special election there won’t be a party primary, and anyone who secures enough signatures and files their ballot petition will be on the ballot.  

The winner of the special election will serve as public advocate until at least Dec. 31, 2019, but would have to campaign again in the general election. Primaries and the general election will take place in September and November. The winner will serve through 2021.

Who is running to be the next Public Advocate of New York City?  That is the multi-million dollar question, since the number of candidates puts the cost of running this special election at approximately $15 million, according to the Board of Elections. 

According to the Gotham Gazette, there are roughly two-dozen candidates who have officially declared or indicated they are exploring a run. The list includes City Council members Jumaane Williams, Ydanis Rodriguez, Robert Cornegy, Rafael Espinal, Eric Ulrich, and former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Assembly members Michael Blake and Daniel O’Donnell have also announced their intention to run for public advocate. (See full alphabetized below)

MNN’s Race to Represent will have statements and interviews with each candidate starting in February.

For more information on this election and who is running, please continue to check MNN’s Race to Represent website, or the Board of Elections website


NYC's Public Advocate List of Candidates (List compiled by Gotham Gazette)

Manny Alicandro is an attorney and ran to be Republican nomination for attorney general. @Manny_Alicandro

Assemblymember Michael Blake represents part of the Bronx and is a vice chair of the DNC. @MrMikeBlake

Daniel Christmann is a radio host. @EcallerTh

David Eisenbach is a professor at Columbia University ran in 2017 as Democratic for Public Advocate. @Eisenbach4NY

City Council Member Rafael Espinal represents part of Brooklyn. @RLEspinal

Peter Gleason is an attorney and former police officer and firefighter. @PeterGleasonEsq

Gwen Goodwin is a community activist and past candidate for City Council.

Tony Herbert is a community activist who was a candidate for Public Advocate in 2017. @herbert4nyc

Ifeoma Ike is an attorney and co-founder of consultancy Think Rubix, LLC. @IfyWorks

Assemblymember Ron Kim represents parts of Queens. @rontkim

Nomiki Konst is a journalist, activist, and member of the Democratic National Committee. @NomikiKonst

Abbey Laurel-Smith @The46thPOTUS_

Melissa Mark-Viverito is former Speaker of the City Council. @MMViverito

Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell represents part of Manhattan. @DannyforNYC

Jared Rich is an attorney from Brooklyn. @JaredRichNYC

City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez represents part of Manhattan. @ydanis

Ralph Schweizer is a Bronx activist. @RealRalphNYC

Diane Signorile is a real estate broker from Staten Island. @kittydat2

Curtis Sliwa is a radio host. @CurtisSliwa

Nancy Sliwa is an attorney who ran for attorney general in 2017 year on the Reform Party line. @SLIWA4NYAG

Dawn Smalls is an attorney who previously worked in the Obama and Clinton administrations. @DawnSmalls2

John Tabacco is the New York State Reform Party secretary. @HTBExperts

City Council Member Eric Ulrich represents part of Queens. @eric_ulrich

Assemblymember Latrice Walker represents part of Brooklyn. @WalkerForNYC

City Council Member Jumaane Williams represents part of Brooklyn. @JumaaneWilliams

Ben Yee is a entrepreneur, member of the DSC, and secretary for the Manhattan Democratic Party. @yben

Mike Zumbluskas is the former chair of the Manhattan Independence Party. @MikeZumbluskas