The Fort Greene councilwoman beat state Sen. Daniel Squadron handily in the Democratic rematch and will not face a Republican challenger

Letitia James wins public advocate run-off and likely the office

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Letitia “Tish” James won the Democratic public advocate run-off on Wednesday night, in all likelihood launching her from Fort Greene’s three-term councilwoman to a heartbeat away from the mayor’s office.

James garnered about 60 percent of the vote, handily beating state Sen. Daniel Squadron for the Democratic nomination which, because no Republican is running, almost assures her the seat and likely makes her the first African-American woman to hold a citywide political office. At the moment her win was assured, James brandished the same populist rhetoric that defined her campaign and her tenure as councilwoman.

“There’s so much more work to do because the next generation of New Yorkers are at risk of losing the opportunities that allowed us to make it in this city,” James told a crowd of supporters at her victory party on the roof of Manhattan’s Copacabana Club.

The run-off race saw its share of mud-slinging, but Squadron and James held similar stances on many issues and the contest was the only thing on the ballot, which may explain why only 187,877 New Yorkers turned out to vote, though pundits had predicted as few as 100,000 would turn out.

At the decisive hour, Squadron, who will maintain his position as state senator, was able to muster some kind words for his victorious foe.

“I know that Tish will be their great advocate for New Yorkers across the city,” Squadron said in an e-mailed statement. “Although we did not win tonight, I will keep on doing what I’ve always done in public office — fighting for New Yorkers and a city I truly love.”

James is a former Legal Aid lawyer who, as a councilwoman, opposed the threat of eminent domain to seize property by proponents of the Atlantic Yards development, fought Mayor Bloomberg’s term limit extension, and campaigned against racial profiling by police. But not all of her initiatives have been so political. In 2010 James sued a day laborer after she cut her shin walking into the trailer hitch on his parked truck.

The public advocate is supposed to serve as ombudsman for the city, though what duties that entails is somewhat undefined. The office has been in the spotlight over the past year as current public advocate Bill DeBlasio has used his position as a launching pad for his mayoral campaign and clinched the Democratic nomination going into November’s general election. And though the public advocate’s powers have been steadily limited over the past two decades, the officer still appoints city planning and budget officials and is the second in command if something takes the mayor out of commission.

The low turnout run-off election cost the city $13-million to facilitate, prompting some politicians to call for instant runoff voting, in which voters rank their candidates in order of preference.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:15 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Marsha Rimler from Brooklyn Heights says:
It is a victory for all of us. Tish is of the people and understands the struggles of average New Yorkers.
She knows this is a tough town but. If you can make it here......I hate to discuss a female leaders physical attributes because we never do this with males.
In any case Tish looked lovely last night in victory.
She is a stunning woman .
Lets not have that discussion again. Lets talk about the job, its challenges and the future
Oct. 2, 2013, 7:03 am
Horrible from Your backyard says:
She's a blackmailing mobster

Scummy. It's these kinds of actions that shut down the government.
Oct. 2, 2013, 9:01 am
Marsha Rimler from Brooklyn says:
no need to be insulting and nasty
Oct. 2, 2013, 10:01 am
Mark Anch from Brooklyn says:
I watched the coverage of the runoff last night and was truly disgusted with Tish's lack of graciousness in her victory speech. She did not have one nice thing to say about her opponent, who, on the other hand, gave about as gracious a concession speech as I have seen. James was really shameful.

Now it's time for Tish to put up or shut up. She has spent her career grandstanding and being all talk. She wanted this job, now let's see if she can do more than just pander.
Oct. 2, 2013, 10:29 am
Izzy from Fort Greene says:
Everyone who is mean should drop dead.
Oct. 2, 2013, 10:32 am
Jerry from Dyker says:
@Mark Anch - it's pretty clear that you'd have hated _anything_ she did after winning.
Oct. 2, 2013, 10:54 am
Mark Anch from Brooklyn says:
@Jerry No defense for her shameful victory speech. Instead you chose to come after me. Why don't you defend what she actually said?
Oct. 2, 2013, 11:09 am
Jerry from Dyker says:
@Mark - the last graf of your first post had nothing whatever to do with her speech.
Oct. 2, 2013, 11:24 am
Mark Anch from Brooklyn says:
@Jerry Again not responding to the issue. What does it matter that I had two separate points to make about James? Do two unrelated points somehow cancel each other out? I encouraged you to respond to one - her really nasty victory speech - but am happy to have you reply to both.
Oct. 2, 2013, 12:15 pm
Jerry from Dyker says:
@Mark - see MY first post.
Oct. 2, 2013, 12:43 pm
Mark Anch from Brooklyn says:
@Jerry Not sure what that means. Are you saying you didn't find her speech nasty?
Oct. 2, 2013, 12:45 pm
Horrible from Your Backyard says:
@Marsha, Let me get this straight, you can be all laudatory of her, but I say something that's true and not laudatory and there is no need and I'm nasty?

She's a snake, a blackmailing snake that pandered to you, the ignorant, to get elected. If you'd truly been following her and her actions you wouldn't say what you're saying. All I'm going to say is, good luck and enjoy eating your words for the duration of her term.
Oct. 2, 2013, 1:57 pm
meh from bheights says:
imo, calling someone a blackmailing mobster and a snake isn't just not laudatory. it's nasty and is nasty whether someone or no one praises that person.
same as in real life: there's a diff between rationally listing someone's flaws and nastily calling him or her a *@%$ing lowlife *%#@.

for the record, i didn't like either candidate and think the p.a. office should be abolished.
Oct. 2, 2013, 2:55 pm
hh from fort greene says:
"James is a former Legal Aid lawyer who, as a councilwoman, opposed the threat of eminent domain to seize property by proponents of the Atlantic Yards development, fought Mayor Bloomberg’s term limit extension, and campaigned against racial profiling by police."

I wish her more success in the future.
Oct. 2, 2013, 3:13 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I give huge congratulations for Tish James on wining that run-off yesterday. Unlike Daniel Squadron, she was more of a populist than an elitist, and her records prove just that. It was very likely that Squadron was just another Bloomberg puppet just like Quinn. Of course, I wasn't surprised to hear that she won where she was serving the city council, especially because of her stance on the Atlantic Yards and seeing through the entire project plus understanding what it really was. I hope that she wins the election for public advocate. For those who don't like this position, you can always simply just not vote for anyone who is running for it, because nobody will be forcing you to do so, but don't come complaining if someone you don't like wins especially when you chose not to vote for anyone in that race to begin with.
Oct. 2, 2013, 3:40 pm
Bruce from Cobble Hill says:
Let's eliminate the office of Public Advocate and save money. This office exists only to provide a position for otherwise term limited elected officials. No useful purpose is is served by the Office of Public Advocate. This would be a great City Charter initiative.
Oct. 2, 2013, 3:55 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
By no surprise, Bruce Ratner, the head of Forest City Ratner, supported Squadron, especially since he knew where James stood on the project.
Oct. 2, 2013, 5:02 pm
judah Spechal from bed stuy says:
it's laughable that "Tist is Great" got elected for the Office of "Public Advocate". "Tist is Great", never advocated for the poor & unemployed in her district, w/billions of $$$ construction going on around them.

In fact "Tist is Great" opposed City Point because non union workers, many from Districts in the city who where finding work on larger sites that they are normally shut out from (Unionize). Many worker's getting their first jobs.
"Tist is Great", quickly bait & switch her opposition at the 11th Hr.

The Public Advocate office might as well be renamed Advocate for "Tist is Great".

Watch the beauty & Transport Bill.
Oct. 3, 2013, 9:47 am
mmhmm from downtown says:
Who the hell is "Tist"?
Oct. 3, 2013, 9:58 am
Gracious Is from As Gracious Does says:
I give Tish credit for not publicly slamming that little slimeball Squadron and his cowardly robocalls! With that tactic Senator Slimeball showed complete contempt for his opponent, his constituents, and the entire electoral process. He shouldn't be in office, anywhere, period!

I am sooo happy that Tish prevailed against trust fund trash.
Oct. 3, 2013, 12:06 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Is there any evidence to that claim or did you just make that up to attack her?
Oct. 3, 2013, 5:13 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: