The Public Advocate's office is the second most powerful position in the city and is seen by many as a stepping stone to be Mayor.  

The office of New York City Public Advocate is a citywide elected position, along with mayor and comptroller. They are first in line to succeed the mayor. The office serves as a watchdog, for all New Yorkers.

The Public Advocate has also served as a “stepping stone” for politicians to be elected to higher posts.  For example, one-time Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was elected mayor in 2013 and his successor, Letitia James, won the office of NY State Attorney General last year.   

The position was created by the city’s 1989 Charter Revision Commission, watch to learn more about what the public advocate does and why the position was created.  


Still Curious about the candidates? MNN's "Race to Represent" sat down with the candidates, and over three days interviewed them on their political experience, political ambitions, and their political agendas.  

Click here to watch interviews with  these candidates:  Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assemblymember Michael Blake, attorney Dawn Smalls, City Council Member Eric Ulrich, City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell, City Council Member Jumaane Williams, City Council Member Rafael Espinal, activist Benjamin Yee, attorney Manny Alicandro, activist Nomiki Konst, Columbia history professor David Eisenbach, community activist Anthony Herbert, and attorney Jared Rich

MNN's "Race to Represent" sat down with the candidates*, and over three days interviewed them on their political experience, political ambitions, and their political agendas.  Hosted by Gotham Gazette's Ben Max, each candidate shared his or her vision for the office and the city.  You will hear their thoughts on the issues that matter to you. Where do they stand on NYCH, homelessness and the MTA? They will talk candidly about rooting out corruption, investigating city agencies, and standing up to Mayor Bill de Blasio.   

Like all city special elections, this one is non-partisan, meaning none will appear as Democrat or Republican or any other established political party. 

Whoever wins this February's special election will hold the office through the end of this year.  There will be a party primary in June and a general election in the fall to determine who will permanently fill the office staring in 2020.  

MNN's Race to Represent Public Advocate Interviews start airing on Wednesday February 20th, and air each day up until election day.  Tune into MNN1 (Spectrum 34 & 1995, RCN 82, FiOS 33), MNNHD (Spectrum 1993) or MNN's YouTube channel.

*Councilmember Ron Kim could not attend and Helal Sheikh did not respond to interview requests.