In a crowded election, mayoral long shots try to stand out
With over 20 people vying for Gracie Mansion, the race for mayor has a few superstars—and a lot of underdogs.
Having years of experience (or even a scandal or two) under their belts, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, ex-MTA chairman Joe Lhota and former congressman Anthony Weiner dominate the headlines, leaving other candidates to scramble for name recognition and votes come election day.
Metro spoke with a handful of these long-shot candidates about how they set themselves apart from the pack.
For now, Jimmy McMillan is comfortable out of the spotlight.
“They’ll fight each other like cats and dogs and I’m sitting on the sidelines eating popcorn,” said the 66-year-old founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party.
Though McMillan is a registered Republican, he’s running on the unique party that made him an Internet sensation “because, the rent is still too damn high.”
Everything—unemployment, high crime—can be attributed to increasing rent in the city, McMillan said. If elected, McMillan would immediately halt all evictions.
“New York City has a right to make sure rent is stabilized for the people,” he said.
McMillan has unsuccessfully run for president, governor and mayor several times in the last 20 years, but he’s still confident.
“You going to be surprised how it’s going to turn out,” McMillan said.
Tech entrepreneur Jack Hidary says he would be the “jobs mayor.”
“I’m talking about taking some of the economic growth that you see in downtown Manhattan and taking it to all five boroughs,” said Hidary, 45, who officially launched his campaign two weeks ago.
Hidary grew up in Brooklyn before co-founding Dice.com, a tech job search site. He also formed a nonprofit to encourage hybrid taxicab use in the city.
“I am well known in the streets among many people,” Hidary said.
If elected, Hidary said more companies like Google would come to the city.
Hidary is a registered Independent, but petitioning for his own Jobs and Education party.
Confident of his chances, Hidary said contenders running on major party lines don’t represent voters anymore.
“They want someone who is going to get the job done,” he said.
A professor in New Jersey and Long Island, Ceceilia Berkowitz said she doesn’t think those already holding office, on City Council for instance, are “well qualified” to be mayor.
“I come from a different background,” said Berkowitz, 35, who acknowledged she’s somewhat of an outsider in city politics.
Berkowitz is currently petitioning to run as an Independent, but announced her candidacy over Twitter in January.
She likes to remind people she’s friends with current-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“He offers advice when I see him,” Berkowitz said, noting the mayor has schooled her on how to deal with the press.
If elected, Berkowitz said she would make any city initiative be open for public comment and approval. Her promise contrasts sharply with Bloomberg, who consistently rolled out new initiatives—like the so-called “soda ban”—that angered the public.
“I’m also not Mayor Bloomberg,” Berkowitz said. “I’m interested in more helping businesses, helping individuals with working wages.”
The Rev. Erick Salgado
The Rev. Erick Salgado considers himself the only candidate in the Democratic primary with a shot at the Latino vote, partially for his conservative views.
“Without a doubt, in the Spanish community, I’m the number one,” said Salgado, 43, noting many Latino voters are more conservative.
Born to Peutro Rican parents in the Bronx, Salgado has founded three churches in Brooklyn, including two in Bensonhurst with over 1,100 members.
Salgado, who now lives in Staten Island with his wife and kids, said he would push for community safety and increase the police force by some 2,500 officers if elected. He would also expand outreach to undocumented immigrants.
Though he remains confident, Salgado acknowledged he’s fighting a losing battle against sensationalized headlines.
“I cannot tweet myself in the underwear,” he said.
Political satirist Randy Credico doesn’t have anything good to say about his opponents.
“You have eight dull people and a guy like me,” said Credico, a comedian well known in New York political circles.
Credico is on the Democratic primary ballot, but, anticipating a loss, he’s also going to petition on his own Tax Wall Street party to secure a spot in the general election.
“I have to let people know there is someone with a point of view that’s not being controlled by Wall Street,” he said.
Credcico uses his stand-up experience when speaking to voters but has a history of fighting for civil rights causes.
“I’m speaking on behalf of a constituency who can’t vote,” he said.
With this strategy, Credico admits he probably won’t win.
“But I’m not going to count myself out yet,” he added.
Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders