Hugh Carey's 'Independent' Run for Mayor in '69

One more note about Hugh Carey’s political career. Sign Up For Our Daily Newsletter Sign Up Thank you for signing

One more note about Hugh Carey’s political career.

Sign Up For Our Daily Newsletter

By clicking submit, you agree to our <a rel="noreferrer" href="">terms of service</a> and acknowledge we may use your information to send you emails, product samples, and promotions on this website and other properties. You can opt out anytime.

See all of our newsletters

The New York Times obit said Carey “ran for mayor of New York as an independent, angering Democratic Party leaders and prompting predictions of his political demise.”

Here, the term “independent” most likely refers to the fact that Carey ran as a Democrat, but not with support from the any notable part of the Democratic establishment; not that he ran as something other than a Democrat.

So, Carey’s lower-case ‘independent’ run in 1969 is different than, say, Mayor Bloomberg’s political label now, which is capital ‘Independent,’ since he’s not enrolled in any party.

(Carey’s independence from the Democratic establishment didn’t end in 1969. Former aide Bill Cunningham, now a managing partner at DKC said that when Carey ran for governor in 1974, even his hometown county organization in Brooklyn wasn’t supportive of him at the State convention. They opted instead to go with Howard Samuels. Brooklyn Paper has good details on that.)

Carey lost his race in 1969, freeing him up to run for governor and save New York.

Blogger Gatemouth, who first brought the the Times reference to my attention, has this description of the ’69 campaign season.

He started an abortive run in the dem primary, with running mates Councilman Robert Low of Manhattan for Council Pres, and Court Street lawyer Mario cuomo for Comptroller.

The former mayor, Robert Wagner joined the race, with a lot (but not all ) of the clubhouses behind him.

Carey dropped out and joined Wagner’s ticket as the candiate for Council Pres, on a ticket which also included State Senator Seymour Thaler of Queens for comptroller–Low stayed in the race without a ticket and opposed Carey. Cuomo dropped  out.

Carey placed a close second –Low a close third, other losers in the race included Jimmy Breslin (running on the slate of Mayoral candiate Norman Mailer) and Assemblyman Charlie Rangel.

(It was almost always better to lose a race for council Pres than win one–the runner up in the 65 primary was Pat Moynihan)

The Demcroatic Mayoral primary had been won by the races only right winger, Mario Proccacino, taking advantage of a four way split between candiates of the center-left and left.

With the Dem and GOP (John Marchi, scoring a stunning upset of incumbent John Lindsay) both right wingers and Italians, Carey did contemplate an independent run for about three minutes, but it soon became clear liberals would rally around Lindsay, running on the liberal line, so Carey’s independent race went no further than the musing stage


Hugh Carey's 'Independent' Run for Mayor in '69