The New York Democratic Primary

“The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have”

John Lewis

“The ballot is stronger than the bullet”

Abraham Lincoln

New York City residents will now begin the process of electing officials who will frame housing, education, welfare, immigration, and environmental policy.


Important Dates To Remember :

Tuesday September 5
: Last day to postmark an application for an absentee ballot.

Tuesday September 12
: New York Primary Election.  Polls open from 6am to 9pm.

Who’s On The Ballot  is a superb site for all  New York City residents. It provides you with  a copy of the ballot you will receive, along with all the information you need to know.

The Mayor is the Chief Executive Officer of the city. He or she has the power to appoint all the heads of agencies and departments, appoint 7 of the 13 members of the City Planning Commission, and sign bills into law. The mayor is also responsible for preparing city budgets and revenue estimates.

Democratic Mayoral Candidates (you will vote for one):

Sal F. Albanese
Bio: An attorney, financial adviser and former New York City Councilmember. The New York Times covered the first primary debate with DiBlasio’s main Democratic opponent.

Richard Bashner
Bio: Commercial lawyer The online daily neighborhood news  Bklyner offers a profile on this Park Slope attorney.

Bill de Blasio
Bio: Incumbent mayor  The Mayor is often in the headlines for various policy decisions including congestion pricing, distance from the city’s titans of finance,   affordable housing, the homeless, and education.

Robert Gangi
Bio: Gangi is the former executive director of the New York Correctional Association and the founder of the Police Reform Organizing Project. Business Insider writes about Mr. Gangi and the “broken windows” policy.

Mike Tolkin
Bio: The CEO of a virtual reality technology company called Ultro Labs.  This mayoral hopeful  outraises and outspends his opponents.

Media coverage of the mayoral primary includes  the Daily News, The New York Post,  and The New York Times.

Updated Sept. 5:  The New York Times Endorsement for Mayor.

Important Date To Remember before the Primary:

Wednesday, Sept 6: Leading Democrat Contenders Debate
7:00 CUNY Graduate Center Studio
Radio: 1010WINS, NewsRadio 880

Important Dates To Remember after the Primary:

Tuesday October 10:
 First General Election Mayoral Debate
7:00 p.m.
TV: NY1, NY1 Noticias (Spanish)
Radio: WNYC

Wednesday November 1
:  Leading Contenders Mayoral Debate
7:00 p.m.
TV: WCBS, WLNY-TV 10/55 (Spanish)
Radio: 1010 WINS, NewsRadio 880


The Comptroller works as economic director of the city, advising fiscal policies and financial transactions, as well as issuing and selling city bonds. He or she also conducts performance audits of city agencies.

Democratic Comptroller Candidate:

Scott Stringer, Democrat, incumbent  (Sole Democrat)    The Daily News recently reported on Comptroller Scott Stringers break with Mayor Di Blasio on subway funding question. 

(As there’s only one Democratic candidate, you will see his name on the November General Election ballot)

Important Dates To Remember after the Primary:

Tuesday October 17:  
First Comptroller Debate
7:00 p.m.
TV: NY1, NY1 Noticias
Radio: WNYC

Sunday October 22
 Leading Contenders Comptroller Debate
8:00 a.m.
Radio: 1010WINS, NewsRadio 880


Democratic Public Advocate
The Public Advocate acts as a citizen’s liaison, coordinating public information and reviewing complaints of city programs. The Public Advocate also appoints 1 of the 13 members of City Planning Commission. In a situation where the mayor is incapacitated, the Public Advocate is next in the line of succession.

Democratic Public Advocate Candidates (you will vote for one):

Letitia James, Democrat, incumbent  Her most recent report found that thousands of students with disabilities who were given the vouchers weren’t receiving services to which they were entitled.
David Eisenbach, Democrat    The editors of City Limits and Gotham Gazette interviewed him about his reasons for running and his plans for the office.

Important Date To Remember after the Primary:
Monday October 16
: First Public Advocate Debate
7:00 p.m.
TV: NY1, NY1 Noticias
Radio: WNYC

Borough President
The Borough President is chosen by the people of the borough to be the head of their administration. Equipped with their own cabinet and staff, this person takes lead initiative in proposing legislation, zoning changes, city wide budget recommendations, land use planning and local service delivery. They appoint 1 of the 13 members of the City Planning Commission as well as members of the community board. This person also holds public hearings concerning borough wide issues.

Each borough president reflected on the state of their borough back in March.

Brooklyn Borough President Democratic Candidate: 

Eric Adams, Democrat, incumbent (Sole Democrat)  Mr. Adams recently called for an independent probe into wrongful convictions in Brooklyn.  He has pushed to expand sustainable fueling options and affordable housing.

(As there’s only one Democratic candidate, you will see his name on the November General Election ballot)

 Queens Borough President Democratic Candidate:
Melinda Katz, Democrat, incumbent (Sole Democrat) Ms. Katz has worked on issues concerning Federal Immigration Agents and public schools, the development of Willets Point, and the values of diversity.

(As there is only one Democratic candidate, you will see her name on the November General Election ballot)

I focused on my borough of Brooklyn, along with my family’s borough of Queens. The borough presidents of the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island are also up for re-election.

City Council Member
The City Council is the legislative body of the city. Members come together to adopt local laws, amend the City Charter, enact local taxes, approve the budget, and oversee city agencies. Most importantly, they have the power to override mayoral vetoes.

 City Council Democratic Candidates 

I have profiled my own district, along with friend’s and family’s districts. Other City Council Districts and candidates can be found in City Limit’s Who’s Who in the Contested City Council Races 

The New York Times has endorsed City Council candidates in the most competitive races.


Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach, Woodhaven

City Council Democratic Candidates for District 32  (you will vote for one)

Briefly: Incumbent Republican Eric Ulrich is seeking re-election. These Democratic candidates are vying to face him in November:

Helal Sheikh (Democrat)

Michael Scala (Democrat)

William Ruiz (Democrat) He has no website. This article refers to a forum he was in.



Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant

 City Council Democratic Candidates for District 35:  (you will vote for one)

Laurie Cumbo Incumbent (Democrat) This is a heated rematch in Central Brooklyn.

Ede Fox (Democrat)

Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope,
Windsor Terrace, Borough Park Kensington


Briefly:  Incumbent Democrat Brad Lander is seeking re-election. (Sole Democrat) He has a plan to desegregate citywide public schools , and has called  for the creation of a task force to oversee the city’s large construction projects, Brad Lander has proposed that cities will  fight inequality and encourage more equitable growth. His Get Organized BK is a response to the White House administration policies. and has been present at numerous rallies held in response to Charlottesville White Supremacists.

(As there is only one Democratic candidate, you will see his name on the  November General Election ballot)


Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Park, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens

City Council Democratic Candidates for District 40:  (you will vote for one)

Jennifer Berkley (Democrat)

Brian-Christopher Cunningham (Democrat)

Dr. Mathieu Eugene (incumbent, Democrat)  Dr. Eugene has worked on issues such as immigration, affordable housing, and health services.

Pia Raymond (Democrat)


District Attorney
The District Attorney is the head prosecutor of the borough in which he or she has been elected.

Democratic Brooklyn District Attorney Candidates:  (you will vote for one)

All six candidates positioned themselves as the most reform-minded in the race in a   forum this past June.

Eric Gonzalez, Democrat,  incumbent (named acting District Attorney in 2016)
Patricia Gatling, Democrat
Vincent Gentile, Democrat
Stephanie Ama-Dwimoh, Democrat
Marc Fliedner, Democrat
Anne Swern, Democrat

Updated September 5: New York Times endorsement for Brooklyn District Attorney.


Justices of the Civil Court of the City of New York – Job Description 
Justices of this court handle cases under $25,000, including a Small Claims Court for cases under $3000. Justices will also handle housing disputes.

Democratic New York City Civil Court Kings County Justices Candidates:  (You will vote for five):

A Slate of independent Democrats pushed back agains the Kings County Democratic Club in this race.  Ellen Edwards,  at first considered an underdog, has gone on to become one of the front-runners in the race. The Kings County Democratic Club is  supporting Robin Sheares, Frederick Arriaga, David Pepper, Consuelo Melendez, and Patria Frias-Colon.

Updated September 7: City Limits provides a profile for each of the candidates.


Frederick C. Arriaga
Ellen Edwards

Patria Frias-Colon
Patrick Hayes
Isiris Isela Isaac
Thomas Kennedy
Connie Melendez
John O’Hara
David Pepper
Sandra Roper

Robin Sheares 

Civil Judges of 6th Municipal District in Brooklyn

Northern Park Slope, Lefferts Garden, a stretch between Coney Island Avenue and Ocean Avenue to Avenue M

Elena Barron

Rupert Berry

Derefim Neckles

Hemalee Patel


Justices of the Supreme Court of New York State
A justice on this court may handle civil cases as well as serious felonies. Keep in mind the Supreme Court in New York is different than in other states because decisions may be appealed to a higher court (Court of Appeals).

Candidates for the supreme courts are chosen indirectly by delegates and only appear on the general election ballot. You vote for the delegates but I found it hard to get information on each delegate.


Respond and React:

Calling all Democrats: VOTE

None of the other three most recent Democratic presidential nominees — Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore — inspired great turnout. …..In off-year elections, Democratic turnout is even spottier, which helps explain the Republican dominance of Congress, governor’s mansions and state legislatures.

While the focus of this post is the New York City Primary elections, please get as involved as you can in your own local elections.  Help to ” get out the vote”  among your friends, neighbors and family members. Let’s break the record for Democratic turnout in 2017 Primary and General Elections, and next year’s 2018 State and Congressional Mid Term elections. 

If you are enraged with the policies of the present administration, now is the time to act:

  •  Become informed. Read. Watch the Debates
  • VOTE.
  • Get your candidates elected: phone banking, canvassing, meetings in your home, donations, signs, etc.

As Joe Biden so eloquently stated

“Joined together, we are more than 300 million strong. Joined together, we will win this battle for our soul. Because if there’s one thing I know about the American people, it’s this: When it has mattered most, they have never let this nation down.”


About Debra29

I am a retired public school teacher who believes that a strong democracy rests on the shoulders of its citizens. This blog was created as a central resource of civic engagement. Together, we can make a difference. Follow me on Twitter: Determined@2AlterTheCourse
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