The field of 23 candidates running in the Feb. 26 special election for Public Advocate has been culled to 17, and three of those still in the field are from Queens.
The city’s Board of Election announced that state Assemblyman Ron Kim, City Councilman Eric Ulrich and Astoria resident Nomiki Konst had made the ballot along with front runners such as Assemblyman Michael Blake of the Bronx, City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn and former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
All 17 candidates were certified for the city’s matching funds program and 10 have qualified to take part first official debate to be televised by NY1 February 6 at 7 p.m.
“Since I launched my campaign in December, my support has grown from all corners of New York City,” Kim said. “My message of putting people over corporations strongly resonates with voters and that is reflected in the fact that my campaign has raised funds from more than 1,000 supporters and far exceeded the qualification for CFB matching funds.”
Kim was an outspoken critic of the state and city’s deal to bring Amazon’s HQ2 to Long Island City, for $3 billion in incentives.
“People are tired of watching politicians give away their tax dollars to wealthy corporations like Amazon while the subways crumble and affordable housing disappears before their eyes,” Kim said. “As Public Advocate, I will end taxpayer funded corporate giveaways and reinvest those funds back into the needs of our communities and our people.”
Ulrich has run his campaign as a watchdog over the de Blasio administration.
“Our campaign is growing, not just in fundraising but in grassroots support,” Ulrich said. “Everyday more people are joining our effort to hold Bill de Blasio accountable. It’s time for a Public Advocate who will call out the mayor for his neglect of city services, his attacks on small businesses, and his quixotic focus on the 2020 Presidential race rather than the people of New York.”
Konst, meanwhile, was something of an outlier in the race. The Democratic Socialist from Astoria has been engaged in politics since age 16 beginning with Hillary Clinton’s campaign for Senate against Rick Lazio in 2000.
As an investigative reporter, organizer and activist, Konst’s campaign appeared to get a late boost when City Councilman Costa Constantinides endorsed her campaign at the Con Edison plant on 20th Avenue in Astoria Tuesday where he described her as “a dynamic, progressive, and inspiring advocate who will fight for marginalized New Yorkers with the same tenacity as she did as a truth-seeking reporter.”
In 2016 she was a National Surrogate for Bernie Sanders for President and a DNC Platform Committee Member and Delegate. As an award-winning journalist, Konst has investigated the lead poisoning crisis in Flint and the pollution caused by the fracking industry with reports and analysis on CBS, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, and other media platforms.
“Getting the support of Councilman Constantinides is a great honor,” Konst said Tuesday. “I’m proud that as my Councilman he has emerged as one of the nation’s boldest and most progressive leaders on issues related to climate change.”