I know that following local political races can be confusing and finding serious journalism about your local candidates is hard work. Heck, even knowing who's running in your district can be hard. You can find out which districts you're in and where to vote with this pollsite locator from Bill de Blasio's campaign. You can learn more about all the races with the Gotham Gazette's Guide for the Last Minute Voter.
But below you'll see my own choices-- I've spent years involved in local progressive politics and I also did a lot of research for this list. I hope this guide helps you feel more prepared to vote.
As engaged members of the New York City progressive community Advomatic is offering a list of candidates for office that we endorse in the NYC Primary Elections which are held on September 10th.
We know that following local political races can be confusing and finding serious journalism about your local candidates is hard work. Heck, even knowing who's running in your district can be hard. You can find out which districts you're in and where to vote hereand then visit decidenyc.com to see a list of all the races and candidates in them.
As individuals, Advomatic staff have been engaged in local elections for years. Whether or not you agree with our choices, we hope this guide helps you feel more prepared to vote. Voter turnout in the primary is so low. Your vote can make or break every single race.
Bill De Blasio
Bill is the most progressive choice for Mayor. This endorsement by The Nation Magazine makes a compelling case for him as the candidate who will build a more equal and prosperous city for all of us. Bill isn't just a guy with vision, he absolutely knows how to get things done. The New Yorker explains that his plan for truly universal, free, full-day Pre-K is no gimmick. Progressive Economist Jeffrey Sachs wrote another great endorsement. As Bill says in this interview with Sarah Jaffe for In These Times "We have a chance to marry together the notion of environmental sustainability with the notion of economic sustainability." And Elana knows from personal experience that Bill is great at helping constituents with problems like exploitative landlords. http://www.billdeblasio.com/
Letisha "Tish" James
Tish is one of the most outspoken members of the city council. She already works as an omnbudsman when Mayor Bloomberg has proposed bad policies and that is certainly the role of the Public Advocate's office. As Public Advocate she will be able to do even more to keep the city government accountable to New Yorkers. Our friends in community-based organizations trust her immensely because she's been on the ground for them whenever she's needed fighting for justice, affordable housing and public transit. She has been endorsed by many unions, Tenants PAC, Working Families Party, New York Communities for Change, StreetsPAC (for livable streets, biking etc) and many more. http://www.letitiajames2013.com/
Folks on our staff have known and worked with Scott for years on issues like affordable housing, community preservation and Albany reform. A top advocate for good government he successfully got the first rules reforms to our state legislature passed in 50 years-- a historic measure. Others had given up on reforming Albany politics but Scott actually got a reform bill passed. He has been a fantastic Borough President of Manhattan and is a real policy wonk who has the knowledge and dedication to be an effective Comptroller. To quote Living Liberally founder Justin Krebs "He takes the grassroots seriously. He's done the most with every office he has held." http://stringer2013.com/
Manhattan Borough President
Gail is a progressive champion who's been fighting for years. She is always on the frontlines of the fight for women's rights and livable communities. She was the City Council's guiding force to get the Paid Sick Days bill passed, something she worked on for years. She lead the city to pass a landmark Open Data law which many civic minded technies have put to great use. She is always available to help out the grassroots and has been a super accessible Councilwoman. There are other likable candidates in this race but Gail is the best choice. I think the New York Times' endorsement of her said it best: "Ms. Brewer is too rare a public official to retire". http://www.galebrewer.com/
Brooklyn District Attorney
A former Federal Prosecutor, Ken Thompson will bring critical attention to inequalities in our legal system as it's practiced in the real world. For example, low income people are more likely to wrongly incarcerated and have their appeals ignored. Ken investigated and successfully prosecuted former New York City Police Officer Justin Volpe, who brutally beat, tortured, and violated the civil rights of immigrant Abner Louima and many other notorious cases in which the Davids needed defending from Goliaths. He is endorsed by the WFP and many unions. http://www.kenthompson4da.com
State Assembly District 53 (Williamsburg, Bushwick)
This may be the only state assembly race on Tuesday. This seat is vacant because the person who held it, disgraced former Assemblyman Vito Lopez stepped down. As Jason says “I'm running for the state Assembly to give Brooklynites a clean break from the rotten politics of the past," and he is absolutely the break we need. Jason is a real reformer, endorsed by unions and every good government group. He was General Council to the Borough President and served as his designee on the board of NYCERS, the City’s largest pension fund where he chaired the audit committee. He is co-chair of the Brooklyn Mitchell-Lama Task Force which works to preserve and enhance the borough's affordable housing program. He's got the credentials and the clean record to do a great job. http://jasonotano.com/
City Council District 1 (Lower Manhattan)
From the Progressive Caucus Alliance's endorsement: "Margaret Chin immigrated to the U.S. with her family from Hong Kong in 1963 when she was nine years old. She grew up in NYC Chinatown and attended P.S. 130 and JHS 65. She graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and from the City College of New York (CCNY) with a degree in education. It was at City College through taking Asian Studies courses that Margaret got involved in community organizing. For more than 30 years she has dedicated herself to public service to help immigrants, low income and working families. Margaret was elected to the New York City Council in 2010, as the representative for District 1, lower Manhattan. Margaret is a proud member of the Progressive Caucus, and the Women's Caucus. Margaret has twice been elected by her colleagues to serve as an executive member of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus." http://www.margaretchin.com/
City Council District 5 (Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island)
Let's get a fellow techie into office! Tech leaders Craig Newmark and the Free Software Foundation's Richard Stallman are supporting Ben. Ben brought some much needed transparency to our state government working with us to put the state legislature's voting records online. That combination of smart government and tech savvy are some of the reasons we support Ben for City Council. He's worked inside and outside government on transparency issues. He's also a progressive through and through. Added bonus: he's a fellow Drupal Developer! He is endorsed by New York Communities for Change, NOW-NYC, Sierra Club, Citizens Union, Citizen Action of NY and the Times. https://kallosforcouncil.com/
City Council District 6 (Upper West Side)
This race is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to good candidates (a typical UWS problem) but we are sticking with our long time friend, activist and District Leader Debra Cooper. She is well known as a long-term board member of NARAL ProChoice NY. She is also has the support of many in the Netroots like the PCCC and Blue America PAC (aka bloggers Digby, John Amato and Howie Klein's PAC). As an activist she worked to pass landmark New York City and State Clinic Access bills. More recently she worked tirelessly to try to preserve reproductive rights in The Affordable Healthcare Act. http://www.debracooper2013.com/
City Council District 7 (Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, West Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood)
Mark is the founder of Upper Manhattan's first and only community development credit union, Neighborhood Trust. The credit union has helped thousands of local low-income residents obtain loans to start businesses, pay for education, and become home owners. A former public school teacher, Mark Levine has the support of his former union and many others. We hesitated before endorsing a white candidate in a district that is largely people of color but Levine has the support of immigrant rights groups like Make the Road Action Fund and community based organizations representing people of color including New York Communities for Change, Community Voices Heard Power and VOCAL-NY. He didn't get those endorsements by being just another liberal, he got those endorsements because he made a difference for their members. He also speaks Spanish fluently and has been immersed in the district's life and culture for years. He used to work for a nonprofit that is a former Advomatic client but we have not met.
City Council District 22 (Long Island City, Astoria, some of Jackson Heights)
Costa was one of the first candidates endorsed by the Progressive Caucus Alliance. He's been involved with so many grassroots groups and progressive causes for years. He is a lifelong resident of Astoria, serves as District Leader and has been Legislative Director to two Councilmembers. He is an Adjunct Lecturer on Public Policy at Queens College. He knows his stuff. He's been active for ages. All the progressive groups are endorsing him and he's a nice guy. Easy choice. http://www.votecosta.com/
City Council District 34 ( Most of Williamsburg and Bushwick, Brooklyn; Ridgewood, Queens.)
Antonio is supported by every feminist organization, good government group, union and every other progressive group I left out that is making endorsements. He has taken a strong stance against corruption (which is rampant in this district) and for women's rights and affordable housing. This race is so important because he is running against disgraced former Assemblyman Vito Lopez. The state has fined Lopez $330,000 for sexually harassing female staffers and even groping them without consent. Antonio is everything that Vito is not. As the Working Families Party says "his work to improve daycare, as well as his experience as a Council staffer, means Antonio has the right mix of experience and independence." http://www.antonioreynoso2013.com/
City Council District 35 (Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, parts of Crown Heights and Bedford Stuyvesant)
While working for Councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito, Ede negotiated with developers in Harlem to build 1,000 units of affordable housing. That track record and her clear stance for affordable housing over luxury development won her the endorsement of Tenants PAC and other groups of lower income New Yorkers like Community Voices Heard Power and New York Communities for Change. Ede has spent years working for some of the best electeds around, Jumaane D. Williams and Melissa Mark Viverito. She helped to found the local reform club and she's impressed us every time we've spoken with her. http://www.edefox.com/
City Council District 36 (Bedford Stuyvesant, Weeksville, parts of Crown Heights)
Kirsten John Foy
Kirsten is a major leader in the fight for a fair criminal justice system and for civil liberties. He has a great record of achievement both in government and as an activist. Kirsten advocated for criminal justice and police reforms like the anti-Stop and Frisk law that just passed. Kirsten coordinated the “Occupy the Corners” initiative in Brooklyn, which united community members to fight back against gun violence. While working for the Public Advocate he fought teacher layoffs, defeating Bloomberg's proposals for two years. He raised the fines landlords must pay if they don't heat their apartments. He is highly endorsed by progressive organizations.http://www.kirstenjohnfoy.com/
City Council District 38 (Red Hook, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge Towers, Parts of Greenwood Heights, Borough Park and Windsor Terrace)
Anyone involved in Hurricane Sandy recovery work in the Red Hook area knows Carlos. He was on the ground day and night, coordinating response efforts between community groups, elected officials and individual people who would just show up at the volunteer hubs wanting to help. It was a huge undertaking and he was fantastic at it and tireless in his work. He's worked for the Borough President and Council Speaker for years. He has the endorsement of the reform Democratic clubs, labor unions, Working Families Party, the Times, El Diario and the LGBT Victory Fund which supports out LGBT candidates. Carlos is running against an incumbent and the fact that he has so much support really means something. http://www.carlos2013.com/
Endorsements for these seats are hard to find because information is hard to find. Lambda Independent Democrats, a progressive LGBT Democratic club in Brooklyn has two endorsed Judicial candidates. This is literally all of the information we have to go on at this time. There needs to be a better way to account for Judicial candidates. Sometimes the Times will list them but they haven't yet.
For Supreme Court Judge: Debra Silber
For Civil Court Judge - 2nd District: Desmond Green
If We Didn't List a Race in Your District
We are not endorsing in every race. There are districts that we just aren't as familiar with or where there aren't candidates who we can confidently get behind or other sensitive reasons.
Our list focuses on some of the most contested races where we have a real preference. There are also some excellent progressive incumbents running for reelection in races where they will clearly trounce their challengers, like Melissa Mark Viverito (District 8, East Harlem, Mott Haven, Manhattan Valley) and Jumaani Williams (District 45 in Flatbush, Midwood) and others. Sorry to leave them out but we wanted to focus on candidates who might need our help the most.
If a race in your district was not mentioned please check out some of our favorite voter guides listed below. We may not agree with all of their endorsements but they are useful reads:
Citizen Action NY
Progressive Caucus Alliance
Working Families Party
Democracy For New York City
Community Voices Heard Power