Alec Hamilton, Assistant Producer, WNYC News
Alec Hamilton is an Assistant Producer in the WNYC newsroom. She produces Morning Edition and starts her work day very, very early.
Now that Rep. Anthony Weiner has announced his resignation, It's A Free Country takes a look at some of the possible contenders for that Ninth District seat.
Queens City Councilmember Mark Weprin (D-23), is rumored to be most likely to receive support from the Queens Democratic Party. Councilmember Weprin is from the political Weprin family, who maintain close ties with Queens Democratic Party chairman and Rep. Joe Crowley. Weprin is a friend and neighbor of Weiner's, and even as rumors swirled that he might be the next in line, Weprin defended Weiner's right to remain in office.
Former Councilmember and candidate for City Comptroller's Office Melinda Katz built her platform as a candidate for comptroller around her strong advocacy for women's issues. Katz is known as a candidate who is as likely to burst into song on the podium as speak on the issues, but she's a sharp and determined candidate.
Eric Gioia (it's pronounced Joy-yuh), who served two four-year terms in the Council as a Queens City Council Democrat, has since moved on to become vice president of JPMorgan Chase's private bank. A frequent critic of Mayor Bloomberg, Gioia ran for Public Advocate in 2009 but lost to Bill deBlasio.
Assemblyman Rory Lancman (25th District) is definitely a likely contender. The assemblyman, who introduced a bill requiring hotel workers to carry panic buttons following the alleged assault of a maid by IMF president Dominique Strauss-Kahn (but presciently before the alleged assault of a hotel worker at the Pierre Hotel) has a history of working for increased transparency and protection for whistleblowers.
Where many Democrats are seeing disgrace and embarrassment, Assemblyman José Rivera is seeing an opportunity. Mr. Rivera believes the Latino community has an opportunity to fill that vacancy with a Latino — specifically, with Latino State Senator José Peralta. If Mr. Peralta were to take office, he would be the third Latino to occupy a Congressional district seat in New York State. District Nine is only 13.6 percent Latino, but Mr. Rivera told El Diario that a Latino majority is unnecessary, pointing to districts who have a Latino majority but non-Latino representation, such as that of Italian-American Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
Councilmember Eric Ulrich (R-32), the youngest city council member at 24, recently received some press for joining the effort to improve public safety by mandating that bicycles be licensed like cars. Mr. Ulrich has had some difficulties involving Twitter himself, after sending a testy response to a tweet concerning a pedestrian accident near his office. Councilmember Ulrich's staffer Bart Haggerty said Councilman Ulrich was not yet prepared to speak about the possibility of a candidacy.
Conservative businessman Bob Turner, who ran against Weiner last year and lost with 41 percent, has said he was driven to run against Weiner because of Weiner's support of health care reform. The retired Turner, who lives in Breezy Point, Queens, told the NY Post that he would consider a run for the seat, should Weiner resign.