Let’s challenge a popular campaign 2017 narrative right now, the one about how this is a dull election year lacking in competitive or compelling races and sure to generate record-low turnout. The first part is not true, and the second part is only a guarantee if we all keep repeating the first part.
The fact is there are interesting and important races all over the city.
The Democratic primary for mayor is very unlikely to result in an upset victory (although Mayor de Blasio himself did raise that possibility over the weekend) but will provide a gauge of just how many New York Democrats are upset enough about the mayor’s fundraising or housing policies or criminal-justice posture—to name just three of the areas in which resentment of the mayor from within his base has supposedly been brewing—to bother voting.
At a time when law, order and justice are fraught topics, one of the biggest elected law-enforcement jobs in the country is up for grabs as Brooklyn Democrats nominate someone to permanently replace the late Ken Thompson.
Meanwhile, in the City Council, the seven seats that we knew would be forced open by term limits are not the only ones where there’s a race worth watching on September 12. Three other seats are now open, as well, thanks to two Councilmembers (she and he) leaving voluntarily and one departing in handcuffs; two of those races will see primary contests. And at least nine incumbents face what appear to be serious challenges.
Needless to say, the other contested primaries are also not faits accomplis. There are races for public advocate and Bronx borough president and 15 other Council seats, not to mention judicial and party posts. Most of the action is on the Democratic side but Republicans and Greens are in the mix, too. Of course, the real decision is made on November 7, although the primary does usually frame the general election rather decisively in New York. And remember: All those Council races set up the election after the election, to see who is the next Council speaker.
City Limits has teamed up with WNYC and Gotham Gazette to cover these exciting races and inform voters about all the choices that confront them in 14 days. Sign up for our free election newsletter, check out our Election Watch site and use the voters’ guide below.
Also out on Tuesday: The official Campaign Finance Board Voters’ Guide, also worth a good look.