City Council members could expect more primaries this year from sitting Assembly members who covet the Council's higher salaries. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Democratic state Assembly members may soon be rolling the political dice by running for City Council. Sitting Assembly members would not have to give up their state seats to run, and many are unhappy that a promised pay raise never came through.
Assemblyman Francisco Moya of Queens has opened a campaign fund to run for the Council, although his motivation may go beyond his wallet.
"A lot of Assembly members and the Senators are looking to buy into particularly open positions," said political consultant Maria Alvarez Castro. "What is happening if Francisco Moya goes against a sitting councilwoman, a powerful one, albeit, I think it will be a little bit of probably a call by the Queens Party Democratic."
Moya would challenge Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who is considered a top candidate to be the next council speaker. Insiders say that may be why Queens County Democratic leaders are leaning on him to run. Many do not want Ferraras to be Speaker.
"County likes people to adhere by the rules, and you have to play within the sandbox," Castro said. "So Ferraras, any sign of independence to the organization, it's a difficult task for them to bear."
Democratic county chairs often play a role in determining who gets to be speaker. And last time around, both Queens and Bronx county leaders were disappointed when Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Brooklyn Democratic Chair Frank Seddio helped install current Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito without their approval. As a united front, Bronx and Queens counties control the largest bloc of votes.
"For every time there has been an election for speaker of the City Council in history, with the exception of 2013, the winning candidate has assembled a coalition of the Queens County Democratic organization, the Bronx County Democratic organization and a few other members, frequently from Manhattan," said political consultant Evan Stavisky.
Other candidates in the speaker's race include Corey Johnson, Jimmy Van Bramer and Mark Levine, among others.
Ultimately, the speaker will be chosen by the elected members of the City Council. But since this is politics in New York City, these decisions are often made in back rooms long before those votes are ever cast.