By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu have all built up impressive rosters of endorsements in their campaigns to clinch the Democratic nomination in the city’s mayoral race.
And in many cases, those making the endorsements cited the candidates’ response to Superstorm Sandy as an important factor.
Each seems to have particular areas of strength. For example, de Blasio is strong in the Downtown area and among left-liberal voters, while both Liu and Thompson are strong in more outlying areas of the borough and in the black and Latino communities.
These are not, however, hard-and-fast rules. For example, the Independent Neighborhood Democrats and the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, both of them representing brownstone Brooklyn, have endorsed different candidates.
Former Bay Ridge Councilman Albanese and former Brooklyn-Queens Congressman Anthony Weiner have received minimal endorsements. However, both say that endorsements are not the major factor in a political race and that the people’s opinion is what matters.
Among the Brooklyn politicians who have endorsed Speaker Quinn are Borough President Markowitz and Council Members Steve Levin (D-Brooklyn Heights-Downtown), Diana Reyna (D-Williamsburg), Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island-Gravesend) and Michael Nelson (D-Homecrest-Midwood-Brighton Beach).
Markowitz praises Quinn’s “creating thousands of jobs in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, helping to launch the East River Ferry and supporting critical day care programs.” Levin also mentions the day care issue, and Reyna looks forward to electing the city’s first female mayor.
Recchia and Nelson both praised Quinn for being among the first officials on the scene in storm-ravaged southern Brooklyn in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. “She met with community leaders, small business owners and families who were devastated by the storm,” said Recchia.
In Brooklyn, de Blasio has been endorsed by, among others, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-central and southern Brooklyn), the Independent Neighborhood Democrats, the New Kings Democrats, the Bay Ridge Democrats and former District Leader Lincoln Restler.
Clarke, in supporting de Blasio, mentioned his stand on the stop-and-frisk issue. “New York needs a mayor ... who will lead by putting an abrupt halt on the excessive use of stop-and-frisk and who will stand and fight alongside me for a national ban on racial profiling,” she said.
Leaders of the three aforementioned political clubs, in their endorsement statements, all championed de Blasio as a representative of working-class, middle-class and outer-borough New Yorkers.
“It is far past time we had a mayor who sends his children to local public schools, comes from the outer boroughs and understands, firsthand, the issues that matter most to middle and working-class New Yorkers,” said Hal Friedman, president of Independent Neighborhood Democrats, in a veiled dig at Mayor Bloomberg.
Among Comptroller Liu’s Brooklyn supporters are the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, the Brooklyn-Queens Chapter of the National Organization for Women, Assemblywoman Inez Barron (D-East New York), Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) and a long list of district leaders and church pastors.
“Comptroller Liu has a history of fighting for women,” says Brooklyn-Queens NOW President Shirley Ranz. ”He continues to be in the forefront of the struggle against sexual trafficking. As comptroller, he demonstrated the need for Pay Equity legislation.”
“After Sandy hit and I learned of the storm’s profound impact, John was one of the first officials to work with me to get direct relief to our neighbors. I saw the compassion and humble service he provided. John understands the struggles facing our families, our young men and women and our seniors. He is a tireless fighter and will help lift families out of poverty,” says Rev. Gary Simpson of the Concord Baptist Church.
Among Bill Thompson’s many supporters in Brooklyn are Council Members Erik Martin Dilan (D-Bushwick-Highland Park) and Lew Fidler (D-Flatlands-Canarsie); State Senator Martin Malave Dilan (D-East Williamsburg-Bushwick); and Assembly Members Alan Maisel (D-Flatlands-Canarsie), Karim Camara (D-Crown Heights-Prospect Lefferts Gardens), Alec Brook-Krasny (D-Coney Island-Dyker Heights) and Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick-Bedford-Stuyvesant).
Dilan, alluding to Thompson’s past tenure as president of the city Board of Education, said, "He understands how to bring teachers, parents, and communities together to create strong schools -- schools that prepare students to be college- and career-ready. That's exactly what our city needs. I'm proud to support him because I know he’ll do the same as mayor.”
Brook-Krasny, whose district includes many small businesses that were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, said, "I'm supporting Bill Thompson because he understands that small businesses are vital to the success of New York's communities -- especially here in Brooklyn. When disaster strikes, we need to do everything possible to get small-businesses back on their feet. Bill's common sense plan will do just that.”
Albanese, according to his campaign, has one Brooklyn endorsement – from District Leader Kevin Parker Carroll, who, like Albanese, is from Bay Ridge. His spokesperson, in an e-mail, downplayed this lack of endorsements: “Unlike his opponents, Sal is building an independent coalition of average New Yorkers interested in honest government.”
Weiner also downplayed the endorsement process. “The old way of politics – seeking union and political club endorsements, being photographed with supporters – has to come to an end,” he said in an interview with the Eagle.
This article does not take into account endorsements by the large number of citywide organizations – most notably unions and professional and trade associations – who have many members living in Brooklyn.