Yes, there are four elected officials in the race to be the city’s No. 3 official. But Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Zach Iscol, Terri Liftin and Reshma Patel are likely to be on the ballot, too.

Candidates’ campaigns

The 2021 Democratic primary for comptroller could feature the largest field ever, which would be a trivial superlative were it not for the fact that ranked-choice voting introduces a novel dynamic into the race to oversee the city’s billions in contracts, spending, debt and pension investments.

The four elected officials now in the race—State Sen. Brian Benjamin, City Councilmember Brad Lander, State Sen. Kevin Parker and Assemblymember David Weprin—might or might not be joined by Council Speaker Corey Johnson. No matter what Johnson does, those four have company: journalist Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, entrepreneur Zach Iscol, attorney Terri Liftin, college student Alex Pan and Democratic activist Reshma Patel.

This week, the Max & Murphy Show sat down with four of those candidates to discuss their vision for the office that packs a lot of substantive muscle behind its green eye shades and pocket protector.

Some of them might not make the ballot, or make it to the end of the race, or garner more than a handful of votes, but then they’d be in good company: In the last comptroller race anywhere near this crowded, in 1989, one candidate dropped out at the last minute with $100,000 in campaign debt and managed to get just 4 percent of the ballots. Jerrold Nadler is now in his 15th term in Congress and chairs the Judiciary Committee.

Hear our conversations with the candidates below:

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Democrat for Comptroller


Zach Iscol, Democrat for Comptroller


Terri Liftin, Democrat for Comptroller


Reshma Patel, Democrat for Comptroller



One thought on “There is a Wide, Wide Field in the Race for Comptroller

  1. Queens County Democratic Party clubhouse endorsement of State Assemblymember David Weprin for NYC Comptroller may make no difference. Since 2001, Weprin has run and lost races for NYC Council Speaker (2001 & 2005), Congress (2011) and NYC Comptroller (2009). It has always been in his blood to seek higher public office. The only problem has been that he lost each time. His colleagues and voters have never found him qualified for a promotion to higher office.

    Despite his claims of financial expertise, he was never considered a serious candidate by colleagues in the State Legislature to replace former State Comptroller Alan Hevisi in 2007.

    NYC Comptroller John Liu and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli never hired Weprin for financial knowledge as a Deputy Comptroller.

    NYC Council members never promoted him to NYC Council Speaker in 2001 & 2005.

    His experience as Deputy Superintendent of Banks under Governor Mario Cuomo, Secretary of the Banking Board for NYS and Wall Street career made no difference in his previous races. The same will be true when he promotes past time as chair of the Securities Industry Association, as a member of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee or Chairman of the Corrections Committee.

    In his State Assembly Democratic Primary race, despite holding public office for 19 years, he only garnered 46% of the vote. Lucky for him, his two opponents split 54% of the vote. There is no reason to believe that his luck will change in the June Democratic Primary for NYC Comptroller. .

    (Larry Penner — David Weprin Political Historian since 2001 when he said “The position of the next NYC Council Speaker is too important to allow Republican Councilmembers to be included in the voting”)

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