Manhattan Councilman Dan Garodnick is actively discussing a run for city comptroller with supporters, and is taking steps to raise his profile citywide in advance of an expected race in 2013, sources with knowledge of his thinking said.
Garodnick has been discussing a possible bid for comptroller with a variety of donors and allies, under the assumption that John Liu, the current comptroller, will run for mayor in 2013. He has also become a veritable man-about-town, logging appearances at political events across the five boroughs. And his fundraising prowess is impressive, with almost $700,000 currently sitting in an unspecified 2013 account.
“He has been asking people for support,” said one source close to Garodnick. “But it is not just on the phone – he’s actively going out and going to events.”
His supporters say Garodnick’s background makes him a natural choice for the comptroller’s office. The councilman declined to comment, but his campaign treasurer Andrew Ehrlich did nothing to deter the speculation.
“With Dan’s private sector experience as a securities litigator – doing internal investigations – and now as a consumer watchdog in the City Council, the comptroller’s office would be a great fit,” said Ehrlich.
In recent weeks, Garodnick has been criss-crossing the city in earnest, visiting communities far from the confines of his Upper East Side district.
He made an appearance at a church in Fort Greene with Councilwoman Letitia James, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery on Oct. 2; swung by a house party for Queens District Leader Costa Constantinides on Oct. 20; marched through El Barrio with Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito and Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez to highlight a problem with dilapidated and vacant housing on Oct. 31; and plans to pop in on the Queens Democratic Party’s annual county dinner tonight to pay homage to county leader Rep. Joe Crowley and his supporters.
Garodnick has also nurtured a reputation as an ambitious, even-handed politician who doesn’t tack as far left as some of his fellow Council members. He’s assumed leadership positions on a number of issues, like living wage, school overcrowding and affordable housing. And he would likely be in contention for the Working Families Party nomination if he chose to run in 2013.
“He may not have all of labor locked in, but he’ll get some,” said one labor official who has worked with Garodnick. “I think he’d be a very competitive candidate.”
Other potential candidates for comptroller include Councilman Domenic M. Recchia Jr., who chairs the Finance Committee, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, and Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky. Veteran Democratic consultant George Arzt said Carrion and Yassky’s candidacies are still theoretical, while Recchia and Garodnick are actively discussing their plans to run.
“Dan is very smart, and he’s impressed a lot of people,” Arzt said. “Obviously he has citywide office in his sights.”
But if Garodnick is speed-walking to 2013, Recchia could be said to be merely strolling toward the next citywide election, with fewer multi-borough visits and campaign activities than his Manhattan colleague.
Carrion has $2.3 million left in his campaign account, while Recchia has just $147,000, according to city campaign finance records. Yassky has not opened a 2013 account.
An open race for comptroller in 2013 is still a big unknown. Liu is said to be interested in running for mayor, but if questions persist about his fundraising operation, he could opt to run for re-election instead. If Liu does not run for mayor, Garodnick may run for Manhattan borough president, which is already shaping up to be a crowded race. Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin, gay rights activist Brian Ellner, Councilwoman Gale Brewer and Councilman Robert Jackson are all thought to be possible candidates for that office.
At the moment, a run for comptroller would be far less crowded, and thus more attractive to a well-funded up-and-comer like Garodnick, said Arzt.
“I think there is a smaller field for comptroller,” he said. “You really have to have credentials: [Garodnick’s] a lawyer, and he has handled himself in the Council.”
Arzt added, “He’s very knowledgeable, which is the sort of profile you need to run for that office.”
Tags: Adolfo Carrion, Andrew Ehrlich, Borough President, Brian Ellner, citywide, comptroller, Costa Constantinides, dan-garodnick, David Yassky, Domenic Recchia, El Barrio, fundraising, gale-brewer, George Arzt, Hakeem Jeffries, jessica-lappin, Joe Crowley, John Liu, Julie Menin, Letitia James, Manhattan, Melissa-Mark Viverito, Robert Jackson, Robert Rodriguez, velmanette montgomery, Working Families Party
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