Some people are more memorable than others, and that is especially true for City & State reporters who interview hundreds of political insiders each year – all the more so in an election year when candidates are important one day and forgotten the next.
A few people, however, have a way of standing out, whether or not they won an election. It could be because that have interesting things to say or compelling experiences to highlight in an interview. Other times, they come off as combative enough that they secure a permanent spot in our collective hippocampus.
Here are five memorable interviews from the past year:
With New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appearing more and more checked out, Council Speaker Corey Johnson opened up on how things have been going one year after he took over leadership of the Council. Johnson reveals how he won over the Anybody But Corey caucus in the Council, who he would never run against and why he still has hope to have a husband and children – if only he could find the time.
Think that being lieutenant governor is all about cutting ribbons with a smile? Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says you better think again. In the midst of a tough primary battle against New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, Hochul pushed back against his suggestion that she has done little of substance as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s No. 2. “I’ve already done everything that (Williams) proposes to do. I’ve been out there more than any lieutenant governor in history,” she told City & State. She also sounds off on what she thinks prospective female leaders need to know – and who is her least favorite member of Congress.
Challenging state Sen. Jeff Klein was not going to be easy, but state Sen.-elect Alessandra Biaggi found a way. Anti-Trump sentiment helped stir things up in her Bronx district, but a patient approach also played a big role in beating the former leader of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference. For Biaggi though, winning the Democratic primary was just the end of the beginning of what she hopes will be a long and fruitful tenure in Albany.
Interviewed by City & State during a Democratic primary for state attorney general in which he faced off against three female candidates, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney dismissed a lot of difficult questions: Did he vote in line with Trump more than any other congressional Democrat in New York? “What a bullshit metric that is,” he said. Is it legally questionable to run for Congress and attorney general at the same time? “No man, that’s ridiculous. You’re better than that,” he told City & State’s Jeff Coltin. What about all those endorsements for Letitia James? “I think that is a losing strategy.” He turned out to be definitely wrong about at least one of those questions.
The Libertarian candidate for governor challenged the conventional wisdom of what New Yorkers want in the state’s highest office, including his idea to let the New York City subway system fail and a call to end mandatory attendance of grades 11 and 12. “The idea that inequality is rising now is a fantasy,” he asserted, incorrectly
, in a freewheeling interview. Sharpe even made sure to start things off with a little sexist condescension, chiding City & State’s Grace Segers, with “Do you not know who I am, my dear?” Somehow, Cuomo managed to beat him by nearly 60 points.