NYCP’s Top Stories of 2020

A view of Times Square with pedestrians and LED billboards, one that reads "Depart 2020" another one that reads "Police..(fragmented)" "with Illness..(fragmented)"
Photo credit: Tsubasa Berg

Thanks for sticking with us for 12 long months! Here’s a rundown of the most viewed original stories we published this year.

#10: Grace Lee: Community Activist, Mother Challenges Niou for Assembly

Grace Lee (Photo source: Grace Lee campaign website)
Grace Lee

Lee is a hard working first-generation, Asian-American progressive challenging incumbent Assemblymember Yuh-line Niou (the Lower East Side, Chinatown, South Street Seaport area, Financial District and Battery Park City) for lower Manhattan, which has been her home for nearly 20 years. She’s a proud and savvy business owner, community activist, mother, and wife that’s been leading her campaign from home during the COVID-19 health crisis that’s devastated her district.

#9: Patel Sees New Shot at Victory in 2020

Suraj Patel (photo provided by Cassie Moreno)
Suraj Patel

Despite his unsuccessful 2018 campaign to primary out U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Upper East Side, Green Point, Long Island City), Suraj Patel has not given up.

The NYU professor, who previously served former President Barack Obama (D) as a campaign staffer, told New York County Politics that the current election cycle offers him greater opportunities to unseat the veteran congresswoman.

#8: Wright, Dickens Lead in Race to Succeed Perkins

Manhattan Dem Leader Keith Wright (Photo Credit: US Department of Labor)
Manhattan Dem Leader Keith Wright

City Councilmember Bill Perkins (D-Central Harlem, Morningside Heights, Upper West Side, East Harlem) will not seek reelection next year. A consultant fielding multiple polls throughout the city presented New York County Politics with data offering insights over who may succeed the veteran elected.

Former Assemblymember and Manhattan Democrats Leader Keith Wright won the poll, with 24 percent of respondents favoring him. Assemblymember Inez Dickens (D-El Barrio, Hamilton Heights, Harlem, Morningside Heights, Upper West Side, Washington Heights,) was the runner-up, with 17 percent support.

#7: Koffman Wins Suit Against Assemblymember Quart

New York State Assembly Candidate Cameron Koffman (credit: Sean Andrew Jackson)
New York State Assembly Candidate Cameron Koffman

The First Department Court has reached a decision; Cameron Koffman is staying on the ballot for Assembly District 73.

Last Month, Assemblymember Dan Quart (D-Murray Hill, Lenox Hill) sued to remove his challenger, 22-year-old Cameron Koffman, from the ballot. The suit alleged that Koffman’s four years at Yale disqualify him from the assembly, which requires that candidates spend five continuous years as New York State residents prior to the election. 

On May 14, however, the First Department Court officially dismissed Quart’s suit. The court’s reasoning was that, while Koffman was living on-campus in Yale, his permanent address was still in New York. Furthermore, in 2017 Koffman served jury duty in New York County, and did not request exemption on the grounds that he was no longer a resident of New York.

#6: Nadler Declares Victory in Primary

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (Photo Credit: U.S. House Office of Photography)
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) cruised to what looks like an easy victory last night, beating out challengers Lindsey Boylan and Jonathan Herzog.

According to the unofficial numbers, Nadler was able to secure 60.13 percent of the vote; Lindsey Boylan came in second with 24.43 percent, and Jonathan Herzog placed in a distant third with 12.15 percent.

Although the absentee ballots have yet to be counted, Nadler expressed confidence that they won’t change the result.

#5: Boylan Enters Manhattan B.P. Race

Lindsey Boylan (Photo source: Lindsey Boylan's campaign)
Lindsey Boylan

Though unsuccessful in her attempt to unseat veteran U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) in June’s Democratic primary, Lindsey Boylan (D) is ready and eager to be the candidate who will succeed Gale Brewer (D) as Manhattan Borough President.

Despite the urging of her husband and other loved ones to take a break after the primary, Boylan felt obligated to make a difference amid the newfound challenges New York has faced. 

#4: Amid Coronavirus, Push to Legalize Weed Reignites

State Senator Brad Hoylman (photo provided by Avi Small)
State Senator Brad Hoylman

Though the coronavirus emergency threatened initial plans to legalize marijuana in New York State during the 2020 legislative session, a new, last-minute opportunity has emerged.

In a Thursday press release, State Senators Brad Hoylman (D-Midtown West, Chelsea, West Village), Jessica Ramos (D-Queens) and Jamaal Bailey (D-Bronx) joined the Legal Aid Society to tell Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) that New York “urgently need[s] marijuana legalization…rooted in racial and economic justice.”

The call comes amid reports of racial and class inequalities in coronavirus infection and mortality rates, as well as access to care for those who have it.

#3: Ashcraft Alleges Harassment from Patel Campaign

Lauren Ashcraft (photo provided by Lauren Tassone)
Lauren Ashcraft

As officials begin counting the absentee ballots for the June 23 primary, Suraj Patel hopes that the winds will shift further in his direction and allow him to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens).

If he wins, however, Patel will have to answer some emerging questions regarding troublesome conduct from his campaign toward that of fellow Maloney challenger Lauren Ashcraft.

#2: Yuh-Line Niou Clinches Re-Election

Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou (Photo credit: Pnguyen5482, CC BY-SA 4.0)
Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou

Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Financial District, Chinatown) secured a decisive victory over Grace Lee in the primary.

According to the unofficial numbers, Niou nabbed 56.77 percent of the vote – more than 20 percent higher than Lee’s 35.41 percent margin.

“I’m so proud and incredibly grateful to my hardworking team, countless volunteers, and every New Yorker who cast their ballot in this very unusual and challenging election,” said Niou. “I am proud of our campaign, putting our grassroots support up against a flood of money from Wall Street and the 1%. But more importantly, I’m proud of the work we’ve done for the people of this district and I’m ready to continue fighting for a comprehensive ‘New New Deal’ to help New York recover by addressing our public health crisis, bolstering our social safety net, addressing joblessness and housing, and providing assistance to tenants and small businesses.”

#1: Boylan: A Wonky Progressive Alternative to Nadler

In her primary challenge to U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn), Lindsey Boylan offers unique government and policy experience amid candidates of the progressive insurgency.

Born in San Diego, Boylan moved to northern Virginia with her family in middle school. Living near D.C. piqued her interest in politics. In high school, she spent her free time at congressional hearings, aided in lobbying the nation’s highest legislature on civil rights issues after 9/11, and interned for former U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, Sr. (R-CA).