Former public advocate Mark Green just announced that he’s running, once again, for public advocate. It’s the only office he’s ever run for successfully, and it changes the current race pretty drastically.
Other candidates in the race include civil liberties attorney Norman Siegel and City Council members Eric Gioia, Bill de Blasio and John Liu.
In a message to supporters released today, Green said, “I’ve been your advocate but now need your ideas. In this connected, web-based world, no one of us is smarter than all of us. So I need to hear what you think are the key issues and key solutions. Contact me at MarkGreen.com.”
According to the announcement, “Green’s campaign strategist, Paul Rivera, who met Green when both were leading the Kerry for President Campaign in New York State, announced that the campaign manager would be Anne Strahle, the pollster Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the Internet and technology strategist Harish Rao of EchoDitto, and the campaign’s counsel Jerry Goldfeder of Strook & Strook & Lavan.”
Green will instantly be a force to reckon with, given his name recognition relative to the declared candidates.
“He can win because it’s a crowded field,” said Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf, who helped elect Green and Green’s successor, Betsy Gotbaum, to the public advocate’s office. Sheinkopf said Green’s unsuccessful bids for other offices can, somewhat counterintuitively, become something of an asset here.
“The most important argument for Mark Green returning is a simple one: people liked him in that job. They didn’t want him anywhere else,” said Sheinkopf.
In his eight years as public advocate, Green battled constantly with then-mayor Rudy Giuliani. But that was then. Today, even after passing an unpopular term-limits extension and on the verge of delivering a painfully skimpy city budget, the current mayor is still popular and thought to be a shoo-in for re-election.
So, would those same voters who send Bloomberg back to City Hall also pull the lever for the professional gadfly?
Yes, says Sheinkopf. They can “cast a protest vote and effectively that is what they would be doing if they vote for Michael Bloomberg and Mark Green.”