NYC Candidate Adolfo Carrion Looks Ahead to 2017; To Focus on Election Reform

Headed into the polls for Tuesday’s mayoral election, independent candidate Adolfo Carrion polled at only 2 percent among likely city voters. In the end, he received even less: only .8 percent of the New York City vote.

These low numbers reflect the dismal state of his entire campaign. Due to closed party primaries, Carrion was left out of the circus-like primary election that enveloped particularly the Democratic Party, who witnessed an ever-evolving door of front-runners and scandals.

When all the dust settled, Democrat Bill de Blasio emerged on top of the Democratic ticket while Carrion launched his campaign, a former Democrat himself, struggling for funds, media attention, and voters.

This marginalization was most poignantly felt when Carrion was excluded from the debates. While Republican Joseph Lhota agreed to a separate debate with Carrion on October 9, de Blasio only agreed to spar with his opponent for the three official debates, none of which included Carrion.

In order to qualify for the debate, a candidate had to raise $750,000 and hold at least 5 percent of the vote in a poll one week before the broadcast, a threshold Carrion did not reach.

Carrion’s campaign believes that this exclusion was really what made the difference in the campaign.

Donald Kaplan, the campaign’s press secretary, reflected the morning after the election that “once the campaign finance board had made the decision to exclude him from the debates, it served to minimize Carrion’s opportunity to have his voice out there and make his platform known.”

“If Carrion had opportunity to participate more people could have heard him and the vote total would have been significantly higher,” he added.

Super No Funding Time_ad2
As the election inched closer though, and poll numbers still hovered in the low single digits, Carrion began to consider the impact an independent could make on the political conversation.

Carrion focused much of his campaign in the Bronx and North Manhattan, the Latino-heavy areas of the city and framed his run for mayor as part of a broader effort to enlighten and engage marginalized communities, including the young, immigrants, and particularly Latinos.

At one event, he claimed that “whether or not I become mayor is less important than if we actually do this…I think a big win for us is to have a political discussion that leads to real impact on people’s lives.”

More recently, he began to address broader electoral reforms and advocating for nonpartisan, open primaries.

His main backers, the Independence Party of New York City, argue that they can be unconcerned with the numbers. Instead, they say Carrion has been part of a larger effort toward creating a new force in NYC. He is part of an aggressive coalition that is not tied to either party, but rather linked to the communities and focused on opening the pathway to bringing new ideas and new voices into the political process.

Kaplan noted that Carrion did not see the campaign as the end, but rather the beginning of an effort toward political reform including advocating for open primaries, increased opportunities for voter registration, and greater engagement of the electorate.

With less than one percent of the vote and scant media attention though, it is difficult to determine the impact that Carrion can have on these objectives.

That being said, Carrion is already considering a bid in 2017 to “continue this important work of political reform” he believes the city needs.

Photo Credit: New York Daily News