Hiram Monserrate, who was driven from office seven years ago after a fraud conviction but is now seeking a City Council seat in Queens
Youth Journalists Grill Candidates in 14th and 18th Districts
The members of our Youth Training Program in Public-Service Journalism joined with the journalism program within College Now at Lehman College to do a day-long press conference with five candidates in two Bronx Council races. Here’s what came out of it:
Moya and Monserrate in Feisty Contest for Open Council Seat
“[Assemblyman Francisco] Moya has quickly secured the backing of the Queens Democratic Party establishment and many labor unions and advocacy groups, but [Hiram] Monserrate has strong name recognition in the district, which includes Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. Key issues in the race include Monserrate’s history, as well as Moya’s work in Albany, and district issues like affordable housing, development — especially in Willets Point, education, small businesses, and opportunities and protections for immigrant communities.” Our take: In an era of short memories and quick Twitter bursts, it is a testament to the fact that some people really do still care about local politics that someone who has been out of office for seven years still has a following.
Public Money Rolls in to Bay Ridge Council Contest
Kings County Politics
“The Campaign Finance Board released their first round of matching funds today and candidates in the nine-person race for City Council District 43 covering Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach overwhelmingly lead the entire city in getting public funds for their campaigns. Five of the nine candidates, including Nancy Tong (D), Rev. Khader El-Yateem (D), John Quaglione (R), Liam McCabe (R) and Kevin Peter Carroll (D), vying for the seat received maximum funds of $95,095 with Justin Brannan (D) coming close to the limit with $94,382.” Our take: This is exactly what public money is for, to make sure everyone in a crowded field has a shot to get their message out.
Bill de Bate-eo! Mayor Agrees to Face Primary Opponents
“Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that he will participate in a Democratic primary debate, regardless of whether any of the other candidates qualify under the Campaign Finance Board’s rules. The announcement comes just before the CFB is set to decide on de Blasio’s request for millions of dollars in city matching funds for the primary.” Our take: De Blasio’s reasoning is kind of a side-story. The question here is whether the debate can dent de Blasio’s huge lead over fellow Dems and his likely GOP challenger. (Full debate schedule is here, by the way.)
Mayor Gets Extra Money to Battle Dem Opponents
“Mayor Bill de Blasio has convinced the city’s Campaign Finance Board that he faces enough competition in his re-election campaign to qualify for his full complement of public matching funds: $2.6 million. That decision comes despite the fact that neither of other major Democratic candidates — Sal Albanese and Robert Gangi — have raised more than $125,000. Typically, candidates facing ‘minimal opposition’ qualify for just 25 percent of the matching funds they would get otherwise. But Mayor de Blasio filed a statement of need with the board, arguing that his rivals had received enough media mentions and endorsements by political groups to stage a competitive race.” Our take:Possibilities: One, the mayor really thinks his primary opponents can damage (if not defeat him), contrary to conventional wisdom. Two, the mayor is more worried about Nicole Malliotakis than the polls would suggest and he wants to saturate the airwaves during the primary campaign to try to neutralize her. Or, three, his campaign staff has been on him to provide better lunches and get nicer pens. Whatever the answer, this is interesting.