Why Haven't We Heard Anything About the Public Advocate Race?

February 25, 2019


I find it interesting and disconcerting that, four days from now (I'm writing this on February 22) on February 26, there will be an interim election to fill the vacant seat for New York City Public Advocate and the candidates are, for the most part, ciphers. 


I have received exactly two pieces of campaign literature from the seventeen (seventeen, yikes!) aspirants for the position and I wonder whether citizens from other districts in the "Big Apple" have been similarly ignored. 


Neither of those flyers include endorsements from any of our Roosevelt Island elected representatives.  I know that our Assembly Member, Rebecca Seawright, is supporting Michael Blake because I emailed her to find out. 


It's not as though this is an irrelevant position; our current Mayor ran for office while holding down this job.  How, I wonder, can voters be expected to cast knowledgeable votes, or even to show up at the polls, when the election is presented in such a low-key fashion? 


I suspect the turn-out will be embarrassing and the result not indicative of voters' choice.  Filling seats when no one gives a damn is not healthy for a City (or a nation) torn with political division.  As our beloved President might say: Sad.


Matthew Katz


Editor's Note:

There are 17 candidates for Public Advocate to be voted on in the special election on Tuesday, February 26. Video profiles can be watched here. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson assumed the role and office of Acting Public Advocate when the prior Public Advocate, Letitia James, became State Attorney General, on January 1, 2019.


The Public Advocate acts as an ombudsperson for all New Yorkers – a government official who champions the public and ensures government is responsive to their needs, and is first in the mayoral line of succession. 


This piece from City & State explains that this is a non-partisan position and all candidates will be running on a line of their own creation. If endorsements mean anything to you, it also explains who endorsed who for a peek into their policies. 

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