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NY gubernatorial race, new City Council speaker and more in store for 2018

We could be looking at a more independent City Council in 2018.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is up for re-election in

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is up for re-election in 2018. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Monica Schipper

The political landscape whipped up near daily surprises — and tweets — out of the White House this year. But things were more predictable locally, as Mayor Bill de Blasio coasted through his re-election campaign.

Still, there could be storms brewing ahead in New York, given de Blasio will be working with a new City Council speaker and the governor and state lawmakers are up for re-election.

Here is a quick primer on what to expect politically in 2018:

New York City

De Blasio heads into his second term with an ambitious national agenda — to make sure the Democratic Party doesn’t abandon its progressive ideals.

He has his hands full close to home as well, with efforts to expand his successful Pre-K for All program to 3-year-olds, a vexing growth in the city’s homeless population and a continued focus on affordable housing.

While on his recent trip to Iowa, de Blasio made it clear he intends to use his position as mayor of the nation’s largest city to make his voice heard around the country.

But the dynamics of City Hall have changed and it is unclear how the election of a new City Council speaker will impact his bargaining power with city lawmakers.

De Blasio’s involvement in the election of Melissa Mark-Viverito to speaker in 2014 is in stark contrast to the expected election of Councilman Corey Johnson in January, which was largely organized Democratic county leaders.

“I think you might see a somewhat more independent council,” said political consultant Bob Liff. “I don’t think they are going to be against the mayor but I think they will be more assertive in their role as a check of the executive.”

New York State

Gov. Andrew Cuomo heads into 2018 seeking re-election and endeavoring to bring together the divided Democrats in the state Senate.

But first he has a budget to wrangle, while facing a yawning deficit. Cuomo also faces an uphill battle in his call for congestion pricing in the city, which would involve tolling the East River bridges to raise money for transit fixes.

With all of the state Legislative seats up for election in 2018, the goal is to reunite the members of the Independent Democratic Conference – a group of eight Democratic state senators who joined a power sharing agreement with Republicans – with the rest of their Democratic Senate colleagues.

But it is not expected to stave off a bunch of primary challenges by Democrats who say the Independent Democratic Conference members have weakened the party and who are skeptical of Cuomo’s reconciliation plan.

Democrats are hoping to ride the wave of anger against President Donald Trump and his policies to victory.


Trump has pledged to take a strong role in the midterm elections and help get Republicans elected to Congress. Democrats are counting on a backlash from some of Trump’s policies to give them a winning edge in 2018.

Lawmakers avoided a government shutdown with a short-term funding plan that ends on Jan. 19. Congress will have to hash out another plan which involves such hot-button issues as the border wall and children’s health insurance.

Expect a showdown over continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Trump previously announced it would end in March and challenged Congress to come up with a better plan before then.


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