Henican: Same old faces in New York City's races
Oh, them again!
There’s certainly no shortage of candidates on Tuesday’s New York City primary ballot — veteran officeholders, perennial job-seekers, ambitious trader-uppers, even a hopeful retread or two.The only thing missing from this year’s contests for mayor, comptroller and public advocate?
An unfamiliar face.
“There is no new blood in these races,” said political consultant George Arzt, himself a veteran of many New York elections. “If you’re looking for experience, these are your guys. If you are looking for a fresh face and a Michael Bloomberg of eight years ago, then you’ll have to vote some other time.”
All four candidates in the race for city comptroller are ambitious council members looking to move up. Melinda Katz, John Liu, David Weprin and David Yassky are all hard-working and relatively bright (high praise in Council Land). But you can’t call a single one of them a political surprise.
Same with the race for public advocate.
Former two-term Advocate Mark Green is back again, hoping this race will give him what stabs at mayor, attorney general and U.S. Senate did not — a victory. This time, he’s battling challenges from two well-known City Council members, Bill de Blasio and Eric Gioia, and from high-profile civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, a veteran of numerous races, including a run for this very job in 2001.
These long political resumes aren’t necessarily a bad thing, Arzt said. “These are all people who are tried and tested in the City Council and other battlegrounds.”
But where are the activists riding a sudden wave of urban populism? Where are the rich guys who woke up one morning and thought, “Hey, this might be fun”?
They aren’t on Tuesday’s primary ballot. And don’t expect much different from the Nov. 3 general-election mayor’s race.
The old outsider Bloomberg is now a two-term mayor, seeking a third. His likely opponent, Bill Thompson, is the two-term city comptroller, taking his shot at the big job. Even Thompson’s sacrificial lamb in Tuesday’s primary, Tony Avella, is — drumroll, please — an ambitious councilman.
He looks kinda familiar, doesn’t he?
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