BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Snubbing the frontrunners, the Downtown Independent Democrats on Thursday endorsed progressive activist Dianne Morales for mayor.
The club said Morales’s commitment to fighting both structural racism and gentrification were key factors in its decision.
A native of Bedford-Stuyvesant and the child of Puerto Rican immigrants, Morales is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School. With an education background, from 2005 to 2009 she was the executive director of The Door, the well-known youth-development organization at Broome St. and Sixth Ave. More recently, Morales had a 10-year stint as executive director of Phipps Neighborhoods, a Bronx social-services organization. She has never held elected office.
In a press release, D.I.D. said its endorsement was “calling for a clean break from top-down policies of the current administration that have impacted neighborhoods across New York City.”
“DID proudly endorses former nonprofit executive and progressive activist Dianne Morales for mayor,” the club said. “Ms. Morales shares the club’s long-standing commitment to fighting structural racism, bias and inequality. Members were moved by her plans to fight gentrification and displacement, particularly given that these issues present an extreme risk to the residents of the 65th and 66th Assembly Districts and to all who make use of Governors Island, which also falls within D.I.D.’s area of service.”
The club rejected a slew of other leading and mostly better-known candidates, including Scott Stringer, Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Maya Wiley, Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang.
In the race for Manhattan district attorney, D.I.D. backed one of its own, public defender Eliza Orlins, who is a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society.
“A member of D.I.D., Orlins has a record of a dozen years of actively fighting to reduce incarceration and divert New Yorkers from the prison system,” D.I.D. said. “She is not a late arriver to these issues.”
In another claim to fame, in 2004, Orlins competed on “Survivor,” earning her a national following.
In the Manhattan borough president race, D.I.D. is supporting state Senator Brad Hoylman.
“Hoylman has been a champion for trans- and gender-nonconforming New Yorkers, for Downtown artists and for tenants and small-business owners across the district,” the Downtown club said. “Between these issues, and his creativity in using the power of the state Senate to take on the Trump administration, he has earned our trust, admiration and endorsement.”
D.I.D. backed Jumaane Williams for reelection as public advocate. It’s not too surprising since, in December, D.I.D. named Williams its Elected Official of the Year.
“He is a fighter for working New Yorkers,” the club said, “and we are proud to endorse him for reelection.”
In the open race for City Comptroller, D.I.D. gave its nod to Queens Assemblymember David Weprin.
“Assemblymember Weprin understands the power of the Office of Comptroller — both what it can and cannot do,” the club said, “and he will focus on maintaining and protecting the health of our city pension funds, among other critical work.”
In addition, D.I.D. “resoundingly endorsed” six local candidates for Democratic district leader: Jonathan Gardenhire and Daisy Paez in the 65th Assembly District, Part B; Vittoria Fariello and Paul Newell, in the 65th A.D., Part C; and Jeannine Kiely and Dennis Gault, in the 66th A.D., Part B.
Among them, only Gardenhire — who is an artist and New York City Housing Authority resident — faces a primary-election challenge.
“I am thrilled to be able to support Jonathan for reelection,” said Richard Corman, D.I.D. president. “Activists like him are the future of New York City. I look forward to supporting him alongside our entire slate of terrific candidates.”
D.I.D. previously endorsed City Council candidates Christopher Marte in District 1, Carlina Rivera in District 2 and Erik Bottcher in District 3.