Race is on: Several Bklyn pols floated to succeed James as Public Advocate

Red Hook Councilman Carlos Menchaca.
Brooklyn Daily
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These pols are ready to go Public.

A handful of local lawmakers are already eyeing the city’s Public Advocate seat currently held by Letitia “Tish” James after she sailed to victory in last week’s Democratic New York State Attorney General primary, and will likely go on to win in the blue state’s November general elections.

Red Hook Councilman Carlos Menchaca, whom voters elected to a second four-year term last year, threw his hat into the ring to replace James less than 24 hours after all primary votes were counted and it was clear the former Fort Greene councilwoman was one step closer to becoming the state’s first black attorney general.

“To everyone who has been asking: my everyday work as @NYCCouncil38 is preparing me for bigger things, as I continue to serve all New Yorkers. I think I would make a badass Public Advocate,” Menchaca wrote on Twitter on Sept. 14, the day after the election.

Menchaca, however, isn’t the only Kings Countian being floated as a potential successor to James’s citywide office.

Borough President Adams — who has not been shy about his hopes to move from Borough Hall to City Hall by running a mayoral campaign in 2021, which he could still do if rising to become Public Advocate — and Councilmen Robert Cornegy (D–Bedford-Stuyvesant), Jumaane Williams (D–Midwood), Antonio Reynoso (D–Williamsbu­rg), and Rafael Espinal (D–Bushwick) are all being considered, according to multiple reports.

And it wouldn’t be the first time Williams or Cornegy make bids for higher office — the Midwood pol narrowly lost a primary bid to unseat incumbent Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul last week, and last year, he and the Bedford-Stuyvesant lawmaker waged competing, and unsuccessful, campaigns for the position of Council Speaker, which ultimately went to Manhattan Democrat Corey Johnson.

But Williams — who won more lieutenant-governor votes cast in the five boroughs than Hochul, netting some 41,423 to her 35,402 — garnered big name recognition during his primary campaign, and is likely the current frontrunner for James’s Public Advocate seat, the holder of which would be the first to succeed Mayor DeBlasio if he leaves office before his second term ends in 2021, according to city law.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Posted 12:00 am, September 20, 2018
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