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August 26, 2017

14 City Council Candidates and Current Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Preferred

Historic Civic Group Declines to Evaluate Primary Candidates in 3 Citywide Contests – A Step Never Taken

Citizens Union Chair Randy Mastro and Executive Director Dick Dadey today announced Citizens Union’s preferences in 14 New York City Council races and the Brooklyn DA race for the September 12th primary election. The current District Attorney of Kings County is CU’s preferred candidate. Five Council incumbents were among the 14 Council candidates. Citing their effectiveness in city government and commitment to reform, CU preferred Manhattan Councilmembers Margaret Chin (D-1), Helen Rosenthal (D-6), Mark Levine (D-7), Queens Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley (D-30), Brooklyn Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-38).

In the only race in which CU supports a challenger to an incumbent provided a bit of a flashback moment as in the same race four years ago, CU preferred Ede Fox in the competitive contest against now-incumbent Laurie Cumbo. Citing Fox’s ability to represent the entire council district effectively, CU chose to once again prefer her in the Brooklyn district in spite of Cumbo being an active member of the Council.

In a break from the past, Citizens Union decided to not evaluate the candidates for the three citywide offices of mayor, public advocate, and comptroller. This step was taken because the organization felt that the races were not competitive and wanted to focus our efforts on those running in the general election. Additionally, Citizens Union issued a “no preference” in Council Districts 8 and 9, because some of the most appealing candidates in those races were not able to be scheduled for an interview.

Citizens Union supports 7 candidates running for the 10 council seats in which there is no incumbent running. Citizens Union supports Bronx candidate Amanda Farias (D-18), Brooklyn candidates Alicka Ampry Samuel (D-41), Justin Brannan (D-43), and John Quaglione (R-43), and Manhattan candidates Carlina Rivera (D-2) and Keith Powers (D-4), and Queens candidate Francisco Moya (D-21). Council Districts 4 and 43 are expected to be the only districts, of those evaluated by Citizens Union, in which competitive contests exist for the Council, so our candidate preferences are only for the September primary election.

This year marks the first city election in which the three-term limit enacted in 2008 is resulting in a number of vacancies. Seven of the ten open seats in the New York City Council are the result of these term limits. CU has found that such seats yield contests that are twice as competitive as races in which a seated council member is running. Of note, one-third of the New York City Council  – 18 – will be selected this year as their party nominees without any challengers to the seated incumbents. New York Democrats will essentially choose the winner in the most consequential election – the Democratic Primary – depriving over a million registered voters to vote in the election that essentially determines the office holder.

“We believe these candidates will fight for a better city for all New Yorkers. We are proud to present our preferences to inform voters on the possibilities of city governance. It is of note that this year ten vacancies in the New York City Council are due to term limit expansion and yielded far more competitive primaries than contests, in which incumbents were challenged.” stated Executive Director, Dick Dadey.

While the state Constitutional Convention is a priority of Citizens Union, the question of support for the New York State Constitutional Convention was not a determinative issue for the candidates.

In alignment with Citizens Union’s top reform priorities, candidates were asked about their commitment to holding a state Constitutional Convention, ethics reform, campaign finance reform, and how they propose to prevent corruption in New York City. Citizens Union evaluates candidates based on their commitment to and effectiveness in advancing our reform agenda, knowledge of issues affecting their communities, and the ability to represent their entire district.

Responses to the CU candidate questionnaire are now available on the Citizens Union website.

Complete evaluations of the candidates will be made available online next week at

Citizens Union is pleased to partner with to better inform registered New Yorkers on where and how to vote in the September Primary Election held this year on Tuesday, September 12.

Citizens Union 2017 Primary Preferences 

Council District 13        Marjorie Velázquez (D)
Council District 18        Amanda Farias (D)

District Attorney        Eric Gonzalez (D)

Council District 35        Ede Fox (D)
Council District 38        Carlos Menchaca (D)
Council District 41        Alicka Ampry Samuel (D)
Council District 43 (Dem.)    Justin Brannan (D)
Council District 43 (Rep.)    John Quaglione (R)

Council District 1        Margaret Chin (D)
Council District 2        Carlina Rivera (D)
Council District 4        Keith Powers (D)
Council District 6        Helen Rosenthal (D)
Council District 7        Mark Levine (D)
Council District 8        No Preference
Council District 9        No Preference

Council District 21        Francisco Moya (D)
Council District 30        Elizabeth Crowley (D)

Citizens Union brings New Yorkers together to strengthen our democracy and create a better New York. The health of our democracy and the effectiveness of our government have a direct bearing on the quality of life for New Yorkers. Non-partisan and independent, Citizens Union goal is to build a political system that is fair and open to all, that values each voice, and that engages every voter. As New York’s democratic reform organization, we inform, empower and organize citizens to strengthen the integrity of our political institutions. We fight against corruption; work to reform our voting and electoral systems; and press for city and state governments that are transparent, accountable and effective. We welcome everyone, of any political or professional background, who wants to work with other New Yorkers to create a cleaner, healthier democracy for our city and state.

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