Early voting sites have opened for New York City’s party primaries in what is the first major ranked-choice election on June 12, 2021 in New York City. – New York, NY – June 12 (Shutterstock)
By Victoria Falk
Wikipedia defines a political endorsement as “…a public declaration of one’s personal or group’s support of a candidate for elected office.” When individuals or groups voice their support for a particular candidate, they are basically giving their approval of that candidate and recommending you vote for them. In addition to public remarks that shine positively on the candidate, endorsers may also offer money and or staffing in the form of volunteers to do the necessary groundwork to aid a campaign.
Political endorsements can come from celebrities, activists, unions, political action committees, and other special interest groups. Endorsers select candidates to back, who share their views and support issues that are important to them. Typically celebrities endorse politicians if they think you should vote for them.
What exactly goes into the decision-making process of the endorser? Legal expert and political analyst Mr. Brian Figeroux of IQ INC explained, “Sometimes the endorsement is more about drawing votes from a particular candidate, than actually supporting another candidate.” Candidates celebrate their endorsements as they prove useful in helping candidates move further along in their political campaigns.
How important are major endorsements to the success of a campaign? Endorsements, or lack thereof, can make or break a campaign.
Democratic candidate for New York City Mayor, Maya Wiley, was endorsed by labor union 1199SEIU at a time when she was trailing behind in the polls, and her campaign was struggling to qualify for matching funds. The endorsement from 1199SEIU, the largest local union in the United States, “the union that rules New York,” according to authors Stephen Eide and Daniel DiSalvo, helped transform Ms.Wiley from a struggling candidate to a major contender in the race for New York City Mayor. The endorsement gave a significant boost to Wiley’s campaign.
On the other hand, the failure to get Activist Reverend Al Sharpton’s endorsement seems to have knocked the wind out of Democratic Mayoral hopeful Raymond J. McGuire’s campaign.
Mr. McGuire was expected to speak at National Action Network headquarters in Harlem, New York recently, but was a no-show that day. That was the day Al Sharpton publicly announced to his followers that his daughter publicly endorsed Democratic frontrunner Eric Adams, and Sharpton said at that time that he did not know yet who would get his vote. Mcguire was endorsed by prominent individuals such as Representative Gregory Meeks, State Senator Leroy Comrie, Director Spike Lee, Hip Hop artists Jay Z, and Sean “Diddy” Combs, and a list of other celebrities. McGuire has recently been spotted with Sharpton and continues to hope for his endorsement. As of press time, Mr. McGuire, who ranked well earlier in the New York City Mayoral race, was ranked at 3% of the first-choice vote, according to recent polls of Democratic voters.
As of press time, the major contenders for New York City Mayor, who are leading in the polls of Democratic voters, are Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia, and Maya Wiley.
Each of the three frontrunners has picked up major endorsements during this race for New York City Mayor, with Eric Adams leading the way with the most endorsements. Their endorsements include, but are not limited to:
Eric Adams: Endorsed by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, District Council 37, Civil Service Employees Association, Black Leadership Action Coalition, Friends of Chinese Americans, Far Rockaway Jewish Alliance, Italian American Political Action Committee, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., State Senator James Sanders Jr., and others.
Kathryn Garcia: Endorsed by Teamsters Local 831, SEIU Local 246, United Sanitation Chiefs Association, the Daily News, New York Times, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, New York Votes PAC, Citizens Union, and Four Freedoms Democratic Club, and more.
Maya Wiley: Endorsed by 1199SEIU, New York State Nurses Association, NYC Kids PAC, 504 Democratic Club, Alliance for Quality Education, Amsterdam News, Higher Heights for America PAC, Working Families Party, National Organization for Women, Resilience PAC, and more.
How important are the candidates’ political endorsements to voters? Research from the University of Maryland shows that voters assume the candidates stand for the same principles as their endorsers.
When the endorsers are liked and respected by voters, their endorsements carry more weight. Endorsements can be valuable to candidates in influencing the election. During the recent presidential election, we saw the power of endorsements when the current President, Joe Biden, was endorsed by South Carolina Congressman, Jim Clyburn.
“I have never seen an endorsement have as big an impact as Jim Clyburn’s endorsement of Joe Biden in South Carolina. 47% of South Carolina voters said it was either the most important factor in their vote or an important factor…,” Democratic Mayoral hopeful, Andrew Yang, remarked across social media.
Will candidates’ endorsements make a difference to New Yorkers as they select the city’s next mayor? “There’s no general rule of endorsements. However, endorsements from unions are powerful because they provide troops for the campaigns. They’re sources of money and sources of power,” said Doug Muzzio, professor at Baruch College. New York City political experts agreed that while candidates’ endorsements don’t always matter, they are critical when there is a crowded race as we have now for New York City Mayor. “…It does help when you don’t know who a candidate is,” said Christina Greer, professor at Fordham University.
The Caribbean American Weekly believes in the power of voting and endorsements. A recent poll of our readership showed readers favored Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia, and Maya Wiley, listed in alphabetical order, to replace Bill De Blasio as the next Mayor of New York City.
Based on interviews and observations of the candidates, the Caribbean American Weekly agrees with its readership and has endorsed Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia, and Maya Wiley. See www.cawnyc.com and www.pppradio.nyc for the candidates’ interviews.