From: nydailynews.com

City Councilman Corey Johnson appears to have support to win speaker seat

City Councilman Corey Johnson appears to have support to win speaker seat
Democratic county leaders were finalizing a deal to back Corey Johnson, a Manhattan Democrat, for the speaker post. (Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News)

By Erin Durkin
December 21, 2017

The vote for speaker hasn’t been taken yet, but City Councilman Corey Johnson may already be the winner.

Democratic county leaders were finalizing a deal Wednesday to back Johnson, a Manhattan Democrat, for the post, sources said — and their support will likely bring the votes of enough Council members to put Johnson over the top.

Johnson is one of eight candidates in the running for the job to replace departing Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. The speaker choice won’t be official until the Council votes in January. But Johnson and county leaders were telling allies Wednesday the deal was in place, sources said.

Queens County Party chair Joe Crowley and Bronx chair Marcos Crespo have thrown their support behind Johnson, sources said, carrying a block of votes with them. Manhattan party leader Keith Wright also supports him.

Johnson, 35, got a call from Crowley, a congressman from Queens, affirming his support while meeting with the Uniformed Firefighters Association on Wednesday and told the labor group he had secured the votes to win, sources said. The firefighters union also endorsed him.

Additionally, the Council’s three Republicans are expected to support Johnson.

Johnson and his county backers believe they now have the support of at least 34 members on the 51-person Council, sources said. Johnson declined to comment.

Brooklyn’s Democratic Party organization, which has been backing Councilman Robert Cornegy, was not a part of the deal. Cornegy was not ready to throw in the towel Wednesday. “Nothing has happened between yesterday and today to change the dynamics in the speaker’s race. We continue to run our positive, vigorous campaign to make history,” said the Brooklyn pol, who would be the Council’s first black speaker.

Mayor de Blasio - who four years ago teamed with the Council's progressive caucus to annoint Mark-Viverito, but this time around was out of town in Iowa when the deal was finalized - refused to answer questions about it Wednesday.

Johnson was elected in 2013 to the seat representing Chelsea, Midtown, and the Village. He is gay and HIV positive, and has spoken openly about his past struggles with addiction.

He grew up in Middletown, Mass., and like de Blasio, is a Red Sox fan. While still a teen, he made headlines for coming out as gay while he was co-captain of his high school football team.

Johnson aggressively courted colleagues for the speaker’s post, and backers believe his combative style, coupled with his ability to turn on the charm, will make him an effective balance to de Blasio, though he has also alienated some with his high-octane style.

He also has turned on the cash, with his 2017 campaign donating the maximum allowed amount in an election cycle — $2,750 — to 19 Council members seeking reelection. In addition, he gave the maximum contribution to six candidates running for a Council seat for the first time. Johnson has also doled out $13,125 to local Democratic clubs.

The Daily News has reported that the speaker candidate once piled up debts with a former landlord and was accused of having a former campaign volunteer pay his rent. Johnson’s campaign also paid for a criminal defense lawyer last year to represent a former campaign manager in two city probes.

A group of seven labor unions threw their backing behind three other candidates — Mark Levine, Donovan Richards and Ritchie Torres — in an effort to thwart Johnson’s bid. Also in the race are Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens, Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn, and Ydanis Rodriguez of Manhattan, all Democrats.

Levine, Rodriguez, Richards and Van Bramer all threw their support behind Johnson Wednesday night. "I know the City Council will benefit from his passion, his fighting spirit, and his smarts," tweeted Levine, who was seen as one of his chief rivals.

But Johnson was viewed as one of the front-runners from the start.

“He’s got the intellect. He’s got one of the finest political senses I’ve ever seen,” said Wright, the Manhattan leader and ex-Assemblyman, who endorsed him months ago. Unlike Queens and the Bronx, the Manhattan members do not typically vote as a block.

“The dude works 24 hours a day in politics. At least I take time off for dinner. I don’t think he does,” he said. “He’s always working that phone.”

Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club and an LGBT activist, said he got to know Johnson soon after the now-Councilman moved to New York in his early 20s and quickly knew he’d be a rising political star.

“He’s so smart,” Roskoff said. “Corey knows how to make everybody in the room feel important.”

Officers

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

  1. Hon. Eric Adams
  2. George Arzt
  3. Lance Bass
  4. Charles Bayor
  5. John Blair
  6. Mark Benoit
  7. Hon. Rodneyse Bichotte
  8. Hon. Jonathan Bing
  9. Matthew Bond
  10. Erik Bottcher
  11. Hon. Gale Brewer
  12. Danny Burstein
  13. Robin Byrd
  14. Tiffany Cabán
  15. Christian Campbell
  16. Gus Christensen
  17. Hon. Martin Connor
  18. Tom Connor
  19. Hon. Jon Cooper
  20. Wilson Cruz
  21. Hon. Laurie Cumbo
  22. Alan Cumming
  23. Michael Czaczkes
  24. Hon. Bill de Blasio
  25. Aries Dela Cruz
  26. Jon Del Giorno
  27. Kyan Douglas
  28. James Duff
  29. Hon. Ronnie Eldridge
  30. Hon. Rafael Espinal
  31. Hon. Alan Fleishman
  32. Marc Fliedner
  33. Hon. Dan Garodnick
  34. William Gerlich
  35. Dan Gettleman
  36. Jason Goldman
  37. Emily Jane Goodman
  38. Hon. Mark Green
  39. Tony Hoffmann
  40. Hon. Brad Hoylman
  41. Binn Jakupi
  42. Hon. Letitia James
  43. Hon. Corey Johnson
  44. Camille Joseph
  45. Phillip Keane
  46. Suzanne Kessler
  47. Yetta Kurland
  48. Dodge Landesman
  49. Hon. Melissa Mark-Viverito
  50. Phillip McCarthy
  51. Matt McMorrow
  52. Michael Mallon
  53. Mike C. Manning
  54. David Mansur
  55. Cathy Marino-Thomas
  56. Troy Masters
  57. Hon. Carlos Menchaca
  58. Hon. Rosie Mendez
  59. John Cameron Mitchell
  60. Donny Moss
  61. Barry Mullineaux
  62. Denis O'Hare
  63. America Olivo Campbell
  64. Noah Pfefferbilt
  65. Josue Pierre
  66. Bob Pontarelli
  67. Billy Porter
  68. Hon. Keith Powers
  69. Randy Rainbow
  70. Hon. Gustavo Rivera
  71. Hon. Helen Rosenthal
  72. Maer Roshan
  73. Sheila Rule
  74. Toby Russo
  75. Bill Samuels
  76. James Sansum
  77. Scott Sartiano
  78. Hon. Arthur Schwartz
  79. Lynn Schulman
  80. Cecile Scott
  81. Frank Selvaggi
  82. Rev. Al Sharpton
  83. David Siffert
  84. Hon. Jo Anne Simon
  85. Kathy Slawinski
  86. Tom Smith
  87. Anne Strahle
  88. Hon. Scott Stringer
  89. Wayne Sunday
  90. Hon. Bill Thompson
  91. JD Thompson
  92. Bjorn Thorstad
  93. Hon. Matt Titone
  94. Jessica Walter
  95. Barry Weinberg
  96. Seth Weissman
  97. Hon. Jumaane Williams
  98. Emma Wolfe
  99. Hon. Keith Wright
  100. Zephyr Teachout