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Garodnick Not Backing Down In City Council Speaker Race

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In less than a week, the City Council will select its new speaker, and though last month, East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito declared victory, saying she had more than a majority of members standing behind her candidacy, her rival, Daniel Garodnick, has not backed down. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Daniel Garodnick's speaker candidacy is years in the making.

"This is not a new conversation, though. This has been going on for a year now," he said.

"For over two years, before he announced his campaign for comptroller, I had encouraged Dan to run for re-election so he could become the next speaker of the City Council," said City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo of the Bronx.

He has an uphill battle. Melissa Mark-Viverito says she has the support of 30 City Council members, who pledge to vote for her when the City Council meets next week. She needs 26 votes to become the council speaker.

"We also believe that there are a number of people on the list that was the declaration of victory that also want to be with us, and we look forward to counting their votes next Wednesday," Garodnick said.

However, when NY1 asked who those people are, Garodnick ducked specifics.

"We continue to make the case for our colleagues that we largely support he mayor's agenda, we want to help him succeed, but we also don't want to disempower the City Council at the same time," he said.

Garodnick needs to pick off six votes from Mark-Viverito. The East Side Councilman contends that his camp has not made any promises, that leadership positions are still up for grabs. It's an argument that could persuade some to come to his side.

For their part, Garodnick's supporters, particularly those aligned with the Queens Democratic County leader, say that there is plenty of time left to pull out a victory.

"I think he'd be a great speaker. We're 100 percent behind him," said City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley of Queens. "I think there's still a whole lot of time, a few days left, until we come together as a body and vote."

"It's an ongoing process, as the mayor has said and others as well," said Rep. Joseph Crowley, the Queens Democratic Party leader. "So we look forward to the vote next week on the eighth."

No matter what happens next week, come January 9, it will be a different City Council, one that could be deeply divided.

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