While the federal government may have shut down, New York City politics are very much alive and open for business.
Several months ago, many pundits predicted that today would be the dramatic culmination of a three-week runoff primary race that would involve tough campaign tactics, prominent surrogates and endorsements – while splitting some voters over racial and gender lines. It turns out the predictions were right; this has turned into some race for Public Advocate.
With Bill de Blasio winning the Democratic nomination for mayor outright, the last three weeks have involved City Councilwoman Letitia James and State Senator Daniel Squadron embracing the spirit of nasty Democratic primaries past – with James so fed up with Squadron that she could barely look at him during our debate last week.
The two of them have also brought in plenty of heavy-hitters for help; it feels like Chuck Schumer hasn't worked this hard on the campaign trail since he was elected to the Senate in 1998.
In legislative bodies where lawmakers often get credit for (sometimes) showing up, both James and Squadron have stood out as success stories. And with a "make your own sundae" job like Public Advocate, either one of them seems poised to leave a healthy trail of breadcrumbs to City Hall's Room 9 press room.
While there are plenty of detractors of the job, the Public Advocate over the last 20 years has served as a helpful counterbalance to the man running things in the West Wing of City Hall. Give Mark Green five minutes and he can rattle off 100 things he accomplished in his eight years on the job. (And in his mayoral campaign, de Blasio is pointing to his four years of accomplishments at the job.)
However you want to describe the position -- bully pulpit stalker or mayoral-candidate-in-waiting – Public Advocate has become an important part of the municipal government and the political landscape of the city. It could be a close race tonight and we'll be at both campaign headquarters to bring you live coverage. Worry about the shutdown and the mayoral race another night.