As you have likely ascertained, we have put on the cover of this issue many of the declared or rumored candidates currently in the mix to be the next mayor of New York City. (A few of the more obscure contenders declined to provide photos, or there were no pictures available in the public domain.)
At first blush this throng of hopefuls appears a motley crew—echoes of the patchy field that vied for governor of New York in 2010 or even the swarm of 135 candidates that made the ballot in California’s 2003 gubernatorial recall election, which included, among many others, the comedian Gallagher, former child star Gary Coleman and pornographer Larry Flynt.
While some may ridicule the mass of would-be mayors, I say the more the merrier. Indeed, the 2013 mayoral race, as it is shaping up, stands in proud and stark contrast to the contest for New York City comptroller, where, as of this moment, there is exactly one candidate running to be the world financial capital’s chief fiscal officer: Scott Stringer.
While few would disagree that Stringer has been an able and energetic Manhattan borough president since he assumed office in 2006, the fact that Stringer—who has no professional background in finance, economics or accounting—remains without a challenger to become the Big Apple’s second most powerful citywide elected official is an affront to our democratic process.
Lest we forget, it was only a smidgen over two months ago that Stringer dropped out of the mayoral race after failing to crack 5 percent in several polls of the major Democratic candidates.
For his willingness to step aside and serve up his slice of voters to his opponents (who were eager to gobble them up), Stringer was handed a whopper of a backroom deal. Despite Stringer never once having publicly expressed interest in being comptroller, 10 days after the borough president announced for it, Councilman Dan Garodnick, who had raised over $1 million to seek the post and had sworn up and down that he would be in the fight for the job until the bitter end, dropped out. Less than a week later Council Finance Chair Domenic Recchia followed suit.
Though the Council members offered weak explanations for their abrupt changes of heart, the political world was abuzz with far more plausible tales of the ruthless arm-twisting endured by both men before they finally relented. I shall leave it up to you to decide what you believe.
While Stringer may very well prove to be the most worthy candidate for comptroller, in no case should he be the only one. Elections are about choice. Without choice, they are a sham.
So let the cavalcade of candidates continue. It’s still not too late for you to jump in!