From: nydailynews.com

City Councilman Corey Johnson appears to have support to win speaker seat

City Councilman Corey Johnson appears to have support to win speaker seat
Democratic county leaders were finalizing a deal to back Corey Johnson, a Manhattan Democrat, for the speaker post. (Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News)

By Erin Durkin
December 21, 2017

The vote for speaker hasn’t been taken yet, but City Councilman Corey Johnson may already be the winner.

Democratic county leaders were finalizing a deal Wednesday to back Johnson, a Manhattan Democrat, for the post, sources said — and their support will likely bring the votes of enough Council members to put Johnson over the top.

Johnson is one of eight candidates in the running for the job to replace departing Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. The speaker choice won’t be official until the Council votes in January. But Johnson and county leaders were telling allies Wednesday the deal was in place, sources said.

Queens County Party chair Joe Crowley and Bronx chair Marcos Crespo have thrown their support behind Johnson, sources said, carrying a block of votes with them. Manhattan party leader Keith Wright also supports him.

Johnson, 35, got a call from Crowley, a congressman from Queens, affirming his support while meeting with the Uniformed Firefighters Association on Wednesday and told the labor group he had secured the votes to win, sources said. The firefighters union also endorsed him.

Additionally, the Council’s three Republicans are expected to support Johnson.

Johnson and his county backers believe they now have the support of at least 34 members on the 51-person Council, sources said. Johnson declined to comment.

Brooklyn’s Democratic Party organization, which has been backing Councilman Robert Cornegy, was not a part of the deal. Cornegy was not ready to throw in the towel Wednesday. “Nothing has happened between yesterday and today to change the dynamics in the speaker’s race. We continue to run our positive, vigorous campaign to make history,” said the Brooklyn pol, who would be the Council’s first black speaker.

Mayor de Blasio - who four years ago teamed with the Council's progressive caucus to annoint Mark-Viverito, but this time around was out of town in Iowa when the deal was finalized - refused to answer questions about it Wednesday.

Johnson was elected in 2013 to the seat representing Chelsea, Midtown, and the Village. He is gay and HIV positive, and has spoken openly about his past struggles with addiction.

He grew up in Middletown, Mass., and like de Blasio, is a Red Sox fan. While still a teen, he made headlines for coming out as gay while he was co-captain of his high school football team.

Johnson aggressively courted colleagues for the speaker’s post, and backers believe his combative style, coupled with his ability to turn on the charm, will make him an effective balance to de Blasio, though he has also alienated some with his high-octane style.

He also has turned on the cash, with his 2017 campaign donating the maximum allowed amount in an election cycle — $2,750 — to 19 Council members seeking reelection. In addition, he gave the maximum contribution to six candidates running for a Council seat for the first time. Johnson has also doled out $13,125 to local Democratic clubs.

The Daily News has reported that the speaker candidate once piled up debts with a former landlord and was accused of having a former campaign volunteer pay his rent. Johnson’s campaign also paid for a criminal defense lawyer last year to represent a former campaign manager in two city probes.

A group of seven labor unions threw their backing behind three other candidates — Mark Levine, Donovan Richards and Ritchie Torres — in an effort to thwart Johnson’s bid. Also in the race are Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens, Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn, and Ydanis Rodriguez of Manhattan, all Democrats.

Levine, Rodriguez, Richards and Van Bramer all threw their support behind Johnson Wednesday night. "I know the City Council will benefit from his passion, his fighting spirit, and his smarts," tweeted Levine, who was seen as one of his chief rivals.

But Johnson was viewed as one of the front-runners from the start.

“He’s got the intellect. He’s got one of the finest political senses I’ve ever seen,” said Wright, the Manhattan leader and ex-Assemblyman, who endorsed him months ago. Unlike Queens and the Bronx, the Manhattan members do not typically vote as a block.

“The dude works 24 hours a day in politics. At least I take time off for dinner. I don’t think he does,” he said. “He’s always working that phone.”

Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club and an LGBT activist, said he got to know Johnson soon after the now-Councilman moved to New York in his early 20s and quickly knew he’d be a rising political star.

“He’s so smart,” Roskoff said. “Corey knows how to make everybody in the room feel important.”

Officers

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

  1. Hon. Eric Adams
  2. George Arzt
  3. Lance Bass
  4. John Blair
  5. Mark Benoit
  6. Hon. Rodneyse Bichotte
  7. Hon. Jonathan Bing
  8. Erik Bottcher
  9. Robin Byrd
  10. Hon. Gale Brewer
  11. Christian Campbell
  12. Gus Christensen
  13. Hon. Martin Connor
  14. Hon. Jon Cooper
  15. Wilson Cruz
  16. Hon. Laurie Cumbo
  17. Alan Cumming
  18. Valorie Curry
  19. Michael Czaczkes
  20. Hon. Bill de Blasio
  21. Jon Del Giorno
  22. Aries Dela Cruz
  23. Kyan Douglas
  24. Hon. Daniel Dromm
  25. James Duff
  26. Hon. Ronnie Eldridge
  27. Hon. Rafael Espinal
  28. Hon. Alan Fleishman
  29. Hon. Dan Garodnick
  30. Dan Gettleman
  31. Jason Goldman
  32. Emily Jane Goodman
  33. Hon. Mark Green
  34. Tony Hoffmann
  35. Hon. Brad Hoylman
  36. Binn Jakupi
  37. Hon. Letitia James
  38. Hon. Corey Johnson
  39. Camille Joseph
  40. Phillip Keane
  41. Greg Lambert
  42. Dodge Landesman
  43. Phillip McCarthy
  44. Matt McMorrow
  45. Michael Mallon
  46. Mike C. Manning
  47. David Mansur
  48. Cathy Marino-Thomas
  49. Troy Masters
  50. Hon. Carlos Menchaca
  51. Hon. Rosie Mendez
  52. John Cameron Mitchell
  53. Donny Moss
  54. Barry Mullineaux
  55. Hon. Paul Newell
  56. Denis O'Hare
  57. America Olivo Campbell
  58. Noah Pfefferbilt
  59. Josue Pierre
  60. Bob Pontarelli
  61. Billy Porter
  62. Hon. Keith Powers
  63. Randy Rainbow
  64. Hon. Jenifer Rajkumar
  65. Hon. Gustavo Rivera
  66. Hon. Helen Rosenthal
  67. Maer Roshan
  68. Toby Russo
  69. Bill Samuels
  70. James Sansum
  71. Scott Sartiano
  72. Hon. Arthur Schwartz
  73. Lynn Schulman
  74. Frank Selvaggi
  75. Rev. Al Sharpton
  76. Hon. Jo Anne Simon
  77. Tom Smith
  78. Anne Strahle
  79. Hon. Scott Stringer
  80. Wayne Sunday
  81. Hon. Bill Thompson
  82. JD Thompson
  83. Bjorn Thorstad
  84. Hon. Matt Titone
  85. Hon. Ritchie Torres
  86. Sam Underwood
  87. Jessica Walter
  88. Patricia Nell Warren
  89. Wil Weder
  90. Seth Weissman
  91. Mel Wymore
  92. Emma Wolfe
  93. Hon. Keith Wright
  94. Zephyr Teachout