Jumaane Williams Wins Special Election For Public Advocate


City Council Member Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Flatlands) last night handily won the crowded special Public Advocate’s race far out distancing the other 16 candidates on the ballot.

According to the unofficial Board of Election results with 98.1% of the votes tallied, Williams received  33.2% or 133,809 votes. City Council Member Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) who received 19.1 % of the electorate or 77,026 votes, came in second place.

Former City council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito came in third place with about 11 % or 44,158 votes followed by Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake with about 8.25 percent or 33,198 votes.

Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

“I want to give a shout out to most of my fellow candidates. Thank you for a race that was about ideas and I look forward to working with you all,” said Williams, 42, during a gracious and heartfelt speech before a roomful of cheering supporters at Cafe Omar, 1744 Nostrand Avenue in East Flatbush.

“I am honored to serve as the next Public advocate. This campaign may have been relatively short, but this journey has been very long. I promise to do what’s right no matter the political winds,” he said.

Williams renewed his committment to fight for the powerless and to hold the powerful and big money people accountable, and to make an opportunity to create transformational change. This includes working to create more affordable housing, and to fight against criminalizing black and brown communities and to give people in these communities second and first chances.

Williams also spoke emotionally how as a person with Tourette’s Syndrome he hoped he can be an inspiration for others who also have the neurological disorder. He also said how the battle is to keep going up the hill for equality and justice for all.

Williams also spoke inspirationaly to any black men listening to know that there is a space in the world for them and they can make incredible changes. “And there’s a young black boy somewhere who is trying to find his place in the world and cries himself to sleep sometimes. Nobody knows what he is going through. I have something to say to him,” said Williams through tears. “I have something to say to him. My name is Jummane Williams and I am the public advocate of New York City.”

Williams has shown a special ability to lead with vision, passion and strength, but the victory is somewhat short-lived as it was a special election. Current city election laws will have him now petitioning again for a special primary in June and a November general election to fill out the term of former Public Advocate Letitia James, who was elected state attorney Attorney General.

However, as Williams has shown in narrowly losing the statewide Lt. Governor race last year, his future remains bright on the citywide and possible state and national political scene.