The race for city council speaker is heating up, but one major player may be sitting out this year. NY1 Political Reporter Courtney Gross filed the following exclusive report.
Seven of the eight candidates for city council speaker were interviewed Sunday by a once-powerful group within the city legislature: the Progressive Caucus.
But sources tell NY1 that the Progressive Caucus is now considering not making an official endorsement in the race for speaker. Instead of picking one candidate, the caucus is thinking about narrowing the race down to the top three contenders.
No decision has been made yet, but that would be a dramatic shift from the influence the caucus had four years ago, when it helped install the current council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito.
The complication for the caucus is that seven of the eight candidates running for speaker are members of the caucus itself — everyone except Robert Cornegy of Brooklyn.
This may create an opening for others to weigh in, including officials also eyeing the other side of City Hall.
"I've been meeting with people, as the borough president who has another four years, because I care what people think," Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said. "I care who is going to be the next speaker. I don't necessarily have a favorite, and I won't endorse."
The Bronx borough president has been sitting down with candidates in the race.
It's widely rumored that behind-the-scenes Public Advocate Letitia James is supporting City Councilman Mark Levine, but she is not saying that publicly. When NY1 asked, her spokesperson said she is not backing anyone in the race.
Of course, she is getting involved in other ways; the public advocate is sponsoring a forum with the candidates next week.
NY1 will also hold a debate with the candidates for city council speaker, scheduled for Dec. 1.