Palma Backs Garodnick as Speaker Field Narrows to Two

Daniel Garodnick. (Photo: Facebook)

Daniel Garodnick. (Photo: Facebook)

The fireworks aren’t over in the speaker’s race, even as it appears East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito has seized the momentum.

The other candidates in the races are continuing to drop out, with several establishment-oriented candidates throwing their support behind East Side Councilman Dan Garodnick, who has emerged as Ms. Mark-Viverito’s main rival for the job.

“I am withdrawing my candidacy for Speaker, and supporting Dan Garodnick,” Bronx Councilwoman Annabel Palma said in a statement provided by a Garodnick aide. “Dan has been a close partner of mine in the Council, and a true friend of the Bronx. I know we will do great work together next year under his leadership.”

Ms. Palma is an ally of the Bronx Democratic Party, which, along with the Queens organization, is backing Mr. Garodnick’s bid. Until today, it had appeared that Brooklyn’s Democratic Party was committed to voting with the Bronx and Queens, but a deal said to be reached this morning between Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Brooklyn leader Frank Seddio short-circuited that presumed alliance against the new Progressive Caucus bloc. (The Manhattan and Staten Island Democratic parties do not wield the same influence over their members.)

Another top contender in the speaker’s race, Queens Councilman Mark Weprin, would not say explicitly he was was dropping out, but made clear he would side with his county leaders.

“Queens has now gone with Dan Garodnick and they continue to be with Dan Garodnick and I’m with Queens and I’m a loyal guy,” he told Politicker this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, a member of the Progressive bloc with Ms. Mark-Viverito, withdrew his candidacy and endorsed Ms. Mark-Viverito for the job.

The remaining speaker hopefuls, Harlem Councilwoman Inez Dickens and the Bronx’s Jimmy Vacca have yet to publicly weigh in on the movement. Neither immediately responded to a request for comment.

Republican Eric Ulrich is also backing Ms. Mark-Viverito, sources said. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

With reporting by Jill Colvin.

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