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Independent Adolfo Carrion Not a Fringe Candidate in NYC Mayor's Race

by Debbie Sharnak, published
Credit: AFP

Credit: AFP

As Democratic voters in New York City head to the polls for the public advocate run-off primary, Adolfo Carrión faces his own challenge in the candidacy for the mayor: insisting that the election is actually a three-way race.

Carrión, who had been inside the Democratic Party for over 20 years, decided to enter the race as an independent. With the backing of the Independence Party, the third largest political group in the city, he is hoping to launch a competitive campaign and offer New York City voters an alternative choice.

While Bloomberg proved successful in his run as an independent, he also had $73 million of his own money to support his campaign. Carrión faces an uphill battle without a party’s financial backing or the same individual wealth to keep his campaign afloat.

Carrión first entered politics as a city planner and district manager of community board 5 in the Bronx before winning a seat on the New York City Council in 1997. In 2001, he went on to be the Bronx borough president and eventually served in Barack Obama’s White House as the first director of Urban Affairs. In all these positions, he served as a loyal Democrat.

Since leaving the White House though, NYC Independence Party’s citywide planner, Cathy Stewart, explains that Carrión wanted to build a new progressive movement in the city that is free of partisanship. While Stewart explains that it was a “gutsy move” to leave the party, she insists that Carrión is not a fringe candidate. Rather, she explains that both his fundraising and deep commitment to public service makes him a valid candidate that New York City voters will connect with.

Carrión is also trying to distinguish himself by explaining how his policies would differ from the two major party candidates. As a former public school teacher, his most innovative measures center on education.

He explained that he hopes to invite nonprofits and businesses to host events at public schools for cash. In addition, he suggested drawing up school-parent contracts to ensure parents are involved in their students’ school lives, such as helping their kids with homework.

Further, he is focusing on the city’s technological development, including bringing Internet to underdeveloped areas in all five boroughs.

Despite his fresh ideas and insistence that his experience makes the election a ‘three way race’ he trails the current polls with just 3 percent of the vote, and only 9 percent of survey respondents indicated that they are undecided. Bill de Blasio currently leads with 65 percent of the vote.

Despite the dismal polling numbers and the uphill battle he faces, Carrión has no intention of letting up. As he declared after the primary election was over, “People have had enough of the political psychobabble…they want to be leveled with … Let the real campaign for New York’s future begin!”

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