June 23, 2021
Public attorney Jumaane Williams appeared early Wednesday to be heading for an easy Democratic primary victory. But the race for the other major city-wide post that is not mayor – controller – has remained mired in uncertainty.
City Council member Brad Lander emerged with the most first-place votes in the new ranked choice vote system, followed by City Council Chairman Corey Johnson.
Former CNBC contributor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera notched the third highest tally in the first round.
Unofficial state electoral council counts of the first slot votes – out of a maximum of five on ranked ballots – showed Lander at around 31%, Johnson at around 23% and Caruso-Cabrera nearly 14% with more than 80% of the ballots counted Wednesday morning.
The count does not include postal ballots. As with the mayoral race and other competitive contests, it will be weeks before the winners of many primaries are finalized. This is mainly because All postal ballots must be received before a full count of ranked choices can be made.
The Comptroller Race featured 10 Democratic candidates, two Campaign Finance Council debates, and $ 18 million in matching public funds, but it was consistently overshadowed by the mayoral race.
Yet there were some startling moments.
Johnson gives up and walks in
In early March, Johnson made an unexpected announcement that he was joining the contest – after dropout of the mayoral race in September 2020, claiming he was struggling with depression.
Johnson’s entry into the low-key competition instantly propelled him to the front of the field as the only official with city-wide impact and the name recognition that comes with it.
City Council Chairman Corey Johnson campaigns for the position of comptroller in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, June 14, 2021 /Ben Fractenberg / THE CITY
Later that month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens / Bronx) brought second attention to the race by endorsing City Council member Brad Lander – but subsequent polls still showed a high percentage of voters undecided.
On June 8, Lander received an extra boost when the New York Times editorial board approved it – the same day that an NY1 / Ipsos poll found 44% of voters were still undecided.
There was no Republican primary in the controller race. The November 2 general election will feature Democratic primary winner Republican Daby Carreras – a private wealth manager who has run for public office twice in recent years – and conservative-line candidate Paul Rodriguez .
The comptroller is responsible for managing the city’s finances, including overseeing pension funds, signing city contracts, and auditing city agency expenses and services.
Lack of attention
State Senator John Liu, who served as comptroller from 2010 to 2013, said it was natural for the top of the ticket to cover other contests.
“The controller’s race attracted media attention, but it would have been nice to have more media coverage given the orientation of the office,” he told THE CITY.
He added that the lack of focus on the race was not because voters did not understand the importance of the office, “but more because the mayoral election was going on with many more candidates than everyone can remember lately “.
Chris Chambers, a public relations officer who lives in Brooklyn Heights, agreed that the number of candidates has made the entire election season “a bit difficult” this year.
But he said it was up to voters to realize that local elections often play a bigger role in their lives than national elections – where turnout is usually much higher.
“We have to make an effort to educate ourselves in areas in which we are not fully familiar,” Chambers, 50, said after voting at a polling station inside Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Williams in a strong position
In the public advocate race, Williams faced two candidates who weren’t particularly well funded: the total fundraising by all of the contestants in that race was just over $ 330,000.
Williams has served as the official watchdog since 2019, when the then Brooklyn City Councilor won a special election to replace Letitia James after stepping down to take on the post of state attorney general. There was no campaign finance board debate and no public matching funds were distributed to candidates in this Democratic primary. There was no Republican primary for this office.
Late Tuesday, Williams topped 70% of the first-place votes, with more than 634,000 votes counted.
With the presumed victory, Williams will face Republican Devi Nampiaparampil, a doctor and professor at the NYU School of Medicine in November, as well as Anthony Herbert on the Conservative Party line.
Herbert, a longtime anti-violence advocate and government member, was also one of the Democratic primary contenders to challenge Williams. As of Tuesday night, he had garnered around 21% of the initial first-place votes.
This story was originally posted on June 23, 2021 by LA VILLE. register here to receive the latest stories from THE CITY every morning.
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