Reporter’s Notebook: Stringer Coming on Strong

Mayoral Candidate Scott Stringer, left, campaigns on the streets of Flatbush in Brooklyn. Photo by Stephen Witt

Like him or not, Mayoral Candidate Scott Stringer knows how to cover all the bases when it comes to politics.

Take his endorsement this past week from the far-left Working Families Party (WFP). It came ahead of two women of color – Dianne Morales and Maya Wiley – both with strong progressive backgrounds.

It was a good payoff after spending the last two years wooing the progressive and Democratic Socialists of America crowd. He was the only citywide elected officeholder endorsing Tiffany Caban over Queens Borough President Melinda Katz in the 2019 Queens District Attorney race.

Leaning left, although risky, is hardly rocket science. The city and country’s political winds are moving with gale force in that direction.

Just as smart was Stringer’s use of the comptroller’s office to dole out key jobs. Some, like Michael Lambert from Queens and current Brooklyn city council candidate Josue Pierre, were based on merit. Lampert knows about business development as a former Business Improvement District head. Pierre has a solid accounting background.

But others were purely political. There was City Council Candidate Ari Kagan to gain Stringer inroads into the Russian Speaking community and Tommy Carroll, brother of Assemblymember Bobby Carroll to help with Brooklyn’s old Irish political block.

In Queens, he hired Aja Meeks, daughter of U.S. Rep. and Queens County Chair Greg Meeks. Activist and current City Council Candidate James Johnson was hired to shore things up in borough’s Black neighborhoods. Pesach Osina who nearly won the special council election in Far Rockaway and sits on the board of the Jewish Community Council, was also hired.

Former Richmond County Democratic Party Chair Kevin Elkins also landed a job in the comptroller’s office, a key cog in shoring up the Staten Island vote.

And with two young children in the public school system, odds are pretty good Stringer will get the United Federation of Teacher union endorsement, which is expected to come next week.

Now critics will say Stringer is calculating, but that’s the game. You don’t get elected to the assembly then Manhattan Borough President and then the city Comptroller without knowing which strings to pull.

So Stringer has the political chops. If he wins, we’ll see if he can take us through a post-pandemic recovery.  For now, the wind is at his back and momentum often decides elections.