For the first time in a half century, government watchdog group Citizens Union has declined to endorse a candidate for the New York City mayoral race.
In a statement released Monday, the group announced that, despite recognizing some of the accomplishments of incumbent Bill de Blasio, their board has unanimously voted not to endorse a candidate.
“This is a sad day for Citizens Union that it cannot, in good conscience, support any of the candidates for Mayor, including the incumbent, who has spent most of his tenure engulfed in troubling ethical issues that continue to swirl around him,” said Randy Mastro, Citizens Union chair. “New Yorkers deserve better than this. And we call upon whoever is elected to commit themselves to ethics reforms that clean up City Hall.”
De Blasio, who campaigned on a platform of transparency, has twice been investigated — once for suspect fundraising practices and again for accusations of favoring his donors. Allegations de Blasio has denied.
In the statement released with the endorsement directory, Citizen Union also talked about their “hope that in the future, whoever is elected mayor will address the perception of a ‘pay-to-play’ culture at City Hall and support ethics reform legislation for the benefit of all New Yorkers.”
Another noteworthy non-endorsement comes in the District 44 City Council seat that the Democratic Party chose Kalman Yegar to fill, citing the use of a loophole that allows the party to choose a successor for vacated seats when the petition filing deadline has already passed, a practice that Citizens Union views as “disenfranchising constituents and fueling the cynicism of New York voters.”
Incumbent de Blasio faces off with Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis in the race for New York City Mayor next Tuesday, November 7.