Public Advocate Dominates Campaign Mail for Democrat She Never Backed

The Richardson palm card featuring Public Advocate Letitia James.

The Richardson palm card featuring Public Advocate Letitia James.

On Tuesday, Diana Richardson won a resounding victory in a heated race for an open Assembly seat in Brooklyn. With the support of the left-leaning Working Families Party and several prominent elected officials, she defeated three candidates, including a Democratic district leader backed by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

That district leader, Shirley Patterson incorrectly noted in campaign literature that she was endorsed by Comptroller Scott Stringer, as the Observer reported. (Mr. Stringer was in Ms. Richardson’s corner.)

But Ms. Patterson wasn’t alone in distributing misleading leaflets and palm cards.

A palm card handed out by Richardson volunteers near polling places in the Crown Heights and Flatbush-based district shows eight elected officials. Seven are listed horizontally below an outsized portrait of Public Advocate Letitia James, a former city councilwoman who represented an overlapping chunk of the district. Ms. James is popular in the area and her endorsement in the race was coveted.

Ms. James, however, never endorsed any candidate. She is quoted on the palm card saying “Vote Working Families Party to stand stand up for tenants and homeowners,” a quote that was approved by Ms. James, according to a source close to her office. But beneath Ms. James, in script, is the sentence “Endorsed by leaders and organizations we trust.” Below are seven Democrats, including Mr. Stringer and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, who actually endorsed Ms. Richardson.

The palm card, while never claiming directly Ms. James made an endorsement, was misleading enough to confuse her own supporters. At least one prominent Richardson volunteer told the Observer that Democrats helping Ms. Richardson were under the impression that Ms. James had endorsed her, pointing to the palm card as evidence.

Ms. James declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Working Families Party simply said Ms. James “approved the quote because of her longstanding relationship and support for the WFP.”

Public Advocate Dominates Campaign Mail for Democrat She Never Backed