At midnight on January 1, a ball dropped in Manhattan, former Public Advocate Letitia James became the state attorney general, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson became the acting public advocate, and a race to fill James’ seat that had been stewing for months came to a boil.
Mayor de Blasio has set Tuesday, February 26th as the date for the special election for public advocate, an office unique to New York with an interesting array of powers (investigating agencies, sitting on key boards, introducing bills and taking over if the mayor vacates), that has many critics, has been a springboard to higher office for de Blasio and James (and almost for Mark Green), and will be the subject of at least two elections this year, and perhaps as many as four. The special election next month fills the post immediately, but the general election in November is what will decide who serves the full remainder of James’ term, and it is possible there’ll be a primary and even a post-primary runoff before that.
The crowd of hopefuls is large. One of them, Brooklyn Councilmember Rafael Espinal, joined WBAI’s Max & Murphy on Wednesday to talk about his candidacy. He discussed his role in shaping the controversial East New York rezoning, his advocacy around nightlife, the Bushwick Community Plan and how he’d use the investigative powers of the office he seeks.
Hear him in the fist embed below. Or listen to the full show, where we discuss this race and the chances that Andrew Cuomo runs for president.
Councilmember Rafael Espinal