Winners & Losers 5/26/17
Just like this season’s New York Yankees, some winners don’t get the respect they deserve – people blindly pledge their support for a lesser rival, while others just don’t show up or pay any attention. But with our weekly Winners & Losers, we’re always here to let you know who hit a home run – and who struck out.
Brian Benjamin – The Democratic candidate easily won Tuesday’s special election for the Manhattan state Senate seat vacated by Bill Perkins, who’s now in the New York City Council. The victory once again means there are 32 Democrats in the 63-seat state Senate, a narrow majority that mainline Democrats won’t stop talking about as they try to pressure the IDC to ditch their partnership with the Senate GOP.
Laura Curran – Another Democratic candidate – this one in a race for Nassau County executive – got some good news this week when one of her primary rivals stepped aside. Assemblyman Charles Lavine’s exit strengthens Curran, who hopes to face former GOP state Sen. Jack Martins in a matchup later this year. Local party leaders had already rallied around Curran – and Lavine’s dubious record as an ethics committee chairman in Albany probably didn’t help.
Rory Lancman – The New York City councilman had one of those under-the-radar victories this week when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration filled a number of judicial posts, including seven interim judges who will be assigned to criminal court. Lancman had been putting pressure on the mayor, arguing that the vacancies exacerbated trial delays. Whether or not the administration agreed, it finally followed the councilman’s advice.
Christine Pellegrino – This Democratic candidate won a special election for an Assembly seat in a conservative district on Long Island. Assuming Pellegrino’s victory is no fluke, it could even be a sign of things to come in the 2018 congressional midterm elections. If New York Republicans weren’t already worried about the potential impact of President Donald Trump’s approval ratings on their own candidates, they have reason to worry now.
Timothy Sini – Yet another Democratic candidate got a big boost with the backing of a well-known figure who’s earned praise – and fear – on both sides of the aisle. In his first endorsement, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara got behind Sini, a former prosecutor under Preet who’s now running for Suffolk County district attorney.
Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez – De Blasio and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will join Oscar López Rivera in the upcoming National Puerto Rican Day Parade, but at this rate will anyone else join them? Some see López Rivera as a nationalist hero, while others have condemned him for his ties to a terrorist group that carried out bombings, including a fatal attack in Manhattan in the 1970s. Whatever the case, it’s been a big headache for Cortés-Vázquez, who chairs the parade board.
Joseph Crowley – The negative headlines keep coming for Crowley, the Queens County Democratic boss and high-ranking House Democrat. The New York Post reported that the congressman helped secure $10 million for a group repped by his brother’s lobbying firm, while Gotham Gazette found that a Crowley appointee to the state Board of Elections has seen the big bucks roll in. Cynical Queens observers probably aren’t surprised, but the bad news isn't welcome for the powerful pol.
Jonathan Darche – It’s not a good look for the new executive director of the Civilian Complaint Review Board to have questions raised about his own checkered past. As head of the CCRB, he is responsible for investigating police misconduct – but he had previously been accused of misconduct, including making inappropriate jokes and calling an area where Hispanic employees sit “el barrio.” At least he knows how those who act inappropriately think!
John Flanagan & Jeff Klein – Republican state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has controlled the chamber – even though Democrats have had a numerical majority – thanks to his power-sharing agreement with Klein and the Independent Democratic Conference. However, the tides seem to be changing, with longtime Republican ally Democrat Simcha Felder and other Democrats pressuring the IDC to rejoin the mainline conference. We’ll see what happens in 2018!
Josh Mohrer – Uber has had a string of bad news in recent months, but in New York, where Mohrer runs things, things seemed to be going quite well: Gov. Andrew Cuomo spearheaded a push to legalize ride-hailing services beyond the five boroughs, and now lawmakers are trying to get things up and running even sooner. But the company just acknowledged that it underpaid New York City drivers by perhaps tens of millions of dollars due to an accounting error. Plus, an ongoing lawsuit alleges that Uber has shortchanged its employees – er, contractors – in yet another way.