We noted that with so many candidates running – there are hundreds out there for numerous city posts up for grabs in 2021 – there would only be so many endorsements to go around.
After the big ones from unions and other prominent elected officials are off the board, candidates would be forced to look elsewhere for public support. One trend we’ve noticed is candidates agreeing to cross-endorse each other.
But we hypothesized that soon candidates would have to start to scrape the bottom of the barrel to show voters they have a broad base of support, perhaps touting their endorsement from the local Little League coach or the organizer of a local knitting circle.
But we are fools, because we forgot about one big change coming to elections in New York City: ranked-choice voting.
Just because your opponent snagged the endorsement of the outgoing councilman in your six-person City Council race doesn’t mean that he or she can’t also endorse you as their number two or even third choice on the ballot. It sure beats no endorsement at all!
Councilman Costa Constantinides of Astoria, who will be leaving office soon, may be the first person to announce the second person he would endorse if he hadn’t already endorsed a different candidate in the same race.
Back in November, Constantinides endorsed Comptroller Scott Stringer as his choice for mayor. The outgoing councilman said it was Stringer’s decision to divest city pensions from the fossil fuel industry that sealed the deal for him.
But there’s over 20 candidates running for the post, although only a handful of them have any real shot of winning.
One of those is Kathryn Garcia, the former commissioner of the Department of Sanitation under Mayor Bill de Blasio. In fact, when Constantinides endorsed Stringer, Garcia wasn’t even officially in the race yet. She didn’t make a formal announcement until December.
Constantinides was impressed with the Garcia campaign, but what could he do, he already endorsed Stringer. He couldn’t go back on his word, right?
If this were a previous election year, Constantinides would be stuck. But enter ranked-choice voting and the councilman has an out: he’ll just announce that Garcia is his second choice on the ballot.
And that’s exactly what he did on April 6, announcing that Garcia was his #2 candidate for mayor.
It will be interesting to see if more candidates court and tout these second or even third-choice endorsements going forward. As they say, second place is the first loser, but in the crazy world of ranked-choice voting, it’s better than no endorsement at all.