At a Brooklyn Bowl fundraiser last night, State Senator Dan Squadron may have very well picked up his first endorsement from an elected official in his unannounced campaign for the Public Advocate’s Office: Assemblyman Micah Kellner. Bill de Blasio, the current inhabitant of that office, is widely expect to mount a campaign for mayor, leaving a vacancy behind him, and Mr. Kellner is openly backing him to fill that position.
“I am definitely urging him and encouraging him and trying to draft him to run for Public Advocate,” Mr. Kellner said, offering to head efforts to round up votes for Mr. Squadron on the Upper East Side. “We’re going to have a new mayor in 2014, and probably a new public advocate and we need somebody who’s smart enough to stand with the mayor when he or she is right, and we need someone who is strong enough to stand up to the mayor when he or she is wrong.”
“He is so smart and savvy in being able to build consensus and actually achieve real successes,” he said, adding that the residents of his district will benefit if Mr. Squadron is successful in his efforts — along with Mr. de Blasio’s — to get fireworks on the East River for future Fourth of Julys.
Two other candidates have been raising money and campaigning for Mr. de Blasio’s job so far: Councilwoman Tish James and former deputy public advocate Reshma Saujani. Interestingly, Ms. Saujani is most notable for her high-profile, unsuccessful congressional campaign against Upper East Side Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, but Mr. Kellner wasn’t especially enthused with her candidacy.
“I have not heard from her campaign,” he said. “After spending $1.5 million dollars, to barely be a blip on the screen for congress, I’m not sure if she’s a strong candidate.”
In the Brooklyn part of his district, Mr. Squadron is known as a rival of Brooklyn Democratic boss Assemblyman Vito Lopez. And although Mr. Kellner endorsed Mr. Lopez’s candidate for congress in that same area this year, he’ll certainly be on a different page than him in the public advocate’s race next year.
“I like Vito, Vito’s been very generous in his advice to me,” Mr. Kellner said of the situation. “I have to look at the individual candidate, look at the race, look at the field of candidates. … I try and support the person who I think is going to be the best candidate.”