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Remaining Public Advocate Candidates Rethink Strategies Ahead Of Runoff

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Although there is no runoff in the mayor's race, Democratic voters are being asked to cast their ballots in a runoff election in less than two weeks for the office of public advocate, where City Councilwoman Letitia James is facing state Senator Daniel Squadron. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

The five candidates in the Democratic primary for public advocate have now been whittled down to two: state Senator Daniel Squadron and City Councilwoman Letitia James.

"I have to tell you, when you run a marathon and you come in at the tape, it's a great feeling, especially when you're then told, 'Turn around and do it again,'" Squadron said Sunday. "So that's what we are going to be doing."

Both candidates have also picked up endorsements from former opponents. Cathy Guerriero endorsed Squadron, and Reshma Saujani is backing Letitia James, even though the two women often found themselves at loggerheads during the debates.

"So, Reshma, we had these spirited debates, and I love Reshma," James said. "She has a strong personality as well as I, and that's why she's endorsed my candidacy. And I really appreciate Reshma for all that she has done standing up for young girls."

With no mayoral runoff to bring Democrats to the polls, it's forcing the candidates to rethink strategy for an expected low turnout. For Squadron, that has meant more phone banking to make sure his supporters vote, and for James, it's meant showing her face in areas that voted heavily for her last week, like in southeast Queens, where she dropped in on a Hawaiian-themed birthday party.

With white men leading the Democratic ticket for the two other citywide offices, NY1 asked the candidates how much diversity on the ticket should figure into voters' decisions.

"Obviously, diversity is an issue that every elected official that I know of has supported, and I just think all voices need to be represented in the city of New York," James said.

"Diversity is an important value, and it's one I share," Squadron said. "What I bring to the table is a history of fighting for those who most need it, beating back the Bloomberg administration on terrible homeless policy, working to actually pass the state assault weapons ban."

With the runoff election, the candidates for public advocate are asking voters to vote for them three times, with the primary, the runoff and eventually, the general election. That's a challenge for any candidate, particularly because interest in the public advocate race dropped off sharply in the primary last week, with far fewer people voting for public advocate than voting for mayor.

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