Upper Manhattan’s Barack Obama Democratic Club voted last night on its endorsements, and the list might surprise you. The home club of City Councilman Robert Jackson and City Council candidate Mark Levine, a long-time ally of State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, gave its nods to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for mayor and City Councilwoman Letitia James for public advocate.
It also voted to endorse Mr. Jackson for Manhattan borough president and–unsurprisingly–Mr. Levine for the 7th District council seat, currently held by the term-limited Mr. Jackson.
The endorsements were all decisive, except for the mayor’s race, which required an instant run-off vote. There, Mr. de Blasio beat out second-place finisher, City Comptroller John Liu, 39-18. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is expected to jump into the race any moment now, also garnered two votes (versus six for former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, the only African-American in the race, and eight for City Council Speaker and earl front-runner Christine Quinn.)
Mr. Levine, who has long been a player in Uptown politics, was previously endorsed by Mr. de Blasio, who has had a long-standing relationship with the club, whose members hail from the largely black and Hispanic neighborhoods of Washington Heights, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights and Inwood.
“When the vote was announced last night, Bill de Blasio said, ‘T’his is a huge step forward.’ The club membership clearly agrees,” club spokesman Alex Luis Castex-Porter said. “Tonight we backed him, and many other qualified, progressive candidates. The Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan is looking forward to working with our endorsed candidates to ensure that New York City sees strong, progressive leadership in 2014.”
Mr. Jackson is currently fighting a tough battle for borough president against several well-connected candidates, including former Lower Manhattan community board chair Julie Menin. Mr. Espaillat, City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and other uptown leaders have endorsed Ms. Menin. (Mr. Jackson infuriated Mr. Espaillat last year when the councilman backed his challenger and long-time rival, ex-Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, who had made a failed play for Mr. Espaillat’s senate seat.)
But despite what sources described as Ms. Menin’s aggressive attempts to court members, the club chose to endorse Mr. Jackson by a margin of more than 2-1.
Political club endorsements are not crucial, but are often cited by campaigns as signs of growing momentum and often help candidates collect petition signatures and mobilize voters.