Chaotic First Week For the Public Advocate’s Race

Public Advocate Candidate Melissa Mark Viverito on the Q train platform at the Newkirk Avenue station in Flatbush (Photo credit: Perri Litton)
Public Advocate Candidate Melissa Mark Viverito on the Q train platform at the Newkirk Avenue station in Flatbush in December 2018 (Photo credit: Perri Litton)

EAST NEW YORK — The mad dash to get on the ballot for the Feb. 26 special election for Public Advocate has at least one candidate up in arms about the “chaotic” process.

East New York’s Councilman Rafael Espinal, who’s in the running for the office, criticized the electoral process, likening it to “trying to get cheap TV on Black Friday,” after failing to submit his required 3,750 signatures the first week.

“I’m happy with my ballot position but the chaotic first-in-first-served process needs to be fixed, said Espinal in a statement, damning what he calls a “broken system. “It’s madness.”

On Jan. 2 Mayor de Blasio announced the date along with some new rules for the crowded race in which more than two dozen people have announced their interest.

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Candidates have until midnight on Jan. 14 to submit 3,750 signatures. The order in which they submit signatures to the Board of Elections determines their placement on the ballot.

Melissa Mark-Viveritto, Assemblyman Michael Blake and Dawn Smalls, consecutively, submitted the required amount of signatures last week. Councilman Espinal and Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell and Councilman Jumaane Williams submitted their signatures Monday morning.

Espinal’s team had petitioners out at newly-elected Mathylde Frontus’ inaugural ceremony on Sunday. The Councilman said he filed more than 6,000 signatures, while Williams, another Brooklyn lawmaker running for Public Advocate, said he brought in 5,000. Candidates have until January 17 to file objections.

The mayor also confirmed the new 8-to-1 matching funds rate applies to this race after City Council voted to start the new election law a little earlier.

Along with the signature rush and new matching funds measure, candidates cannot run on their designated Democrat or Republican Party lines. Instead, candidates have to choose their own Party line. Here’s some of the line-up:

Melissa Mark-Vivieritto: Fix The MTA
Michael Blake: For The People
Dawn Smalls: No More Delays
Rafael Espinal: Livable City
Jumaane Williams: Peoples Voice
Nomiki Konst: Pay People More
Ife Iky: People Over Profit
Daniel O’Donnell: Equality For All
Eric Ulrich: Common Sense
Ron Kim: People Over Corporations

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Kadia Goba

Former Politics Reporter for Bklyner, covering Brooklyn politics and Crown Heights/PLG/Bed Stuy. @kadiagoba


  1. Real Reform is eliminating the Public Advocate Office. CM Espinal supports carriage horse abuse and takes $$$$ from Real estate developers. Espinal needs to be reform

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