17 candidates vie for NYC public advocate in $15M special election

February 26, 2019 - 11:00 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – A large field of candidates are vying for the position of city public advocate in a pricey special election Tuesday.

The new public advocate will replace Letitia James, who is now the state attorney general.

The election doesn't appear to be getting out the vote: Just three people had cast a ballot over the course of one hour at a polling place in East Harlem Tuesday morning, according to 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck.

A teary-eyed Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito voted for herself at the East Harlem location.

 “It’s very emotional right now to have cast a ballot for myself for the first time,” she told reporters. “Possibly as the first Latina to be elected citywide – is an amazing moment.”

Earlier in the morning, candidate Jumaane Williams cast his vote in Midwood, Brooklyn.

“We’re at a critically important time. We’ve got some orange craziness in the White House that we’ve got to prevent from seeping into New York City, but we’ve also got some people in New York City that we have to hold accountable, as well,” Williams said.

Democrats Mark-Viverito and Williams are two of the 17 candidates competing for public advocate. Among the others: Democratic State Assemblyman Michael Blake and Democratic City Council Member Rafael Espinal, Jr. The only Republican running is Councilman Eric Ulrich.

It cost at least $15 million to hold the special election – to fill a spot that has another primary again in June. Then another election will be held in November to see who the public advocate will be past 2019.

A voter named Paul told 1010 WINS he felt a responsibility to vote but that the costly election was “money wasted.”