Will the Teacher Union (UFT) “Select” the Next Mayor (and other electeds) in New York City?

On June 22 registered Democratic voters will go to the polls to select the Democratic candidates (and probably the November victor) for Mayor, Comptroller, Boro Presidents, District Attorneys and 37 of the 51 member City Council; a sweeping change in the governance of New York City.

You may be going the poll a week earlier (Early Voting) or cast your absentee ballot, and, you can “rank” up to five candidates (See a detailed explanation of the mechanics of the election here).

The teacher union, the United Federation of Teachers, is endorsing virtually every position on the ballot, and, has dramatically changed their endorsement process.

Rather than the union leadership choosing candidates local committees made up of school union leaders (“Chapter Leaders”) recommended candidates  (all endorsed) and the other offices Zoom interviews with thousands of teachers participating, and, casting preference on-line ballots.

On Monday, April 19th the UFT Delegate Assembly will endorse a mayoral candidate (or, “rank” more than one candidate)

The Union held four Zoom mayoral interviews (3 candidates per interview) with questions by union activists, thousands of members watched, and cast ballots, and, a second round of the four finalists, once again, thousands of members watching.

Union president Mulgrew explained the selection of the four finalists: leading in the polls, dollars raised, campaign machinery and member ballots. The four finalists: Eric Adams, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley and Andrew Yang.

Politico in the most recent polls Yang had a substantial lead over Adams; Stringer and Wiley far behind and other candidates in the low single digits; however, a majority of voters were undecided.

Polling: In 2016 the most trusted polls had Hillary leading going into Election Day, and, in 2020, a mea culpa from pollsters, guess what, wrong again, that “blue wave” never happened, polling is highly suspect.

I took a deep dive into the inadequacies of polling “Should You Trust Polls? Are Polls Accurate Predictors of Election Outcomes,” here.

Watch the final four UFT mayoral interviews here.

Do endorsements matter?  Will union members follow the endorsements of their leaders?   Read the lists of endorsements by candidate here.

The CUNY union (Professional Staff Congress) endorsed Stringer #1 and Morales #2. 

The Working Families Party (WFP), the progressive wing of the Democratic Party (with their own line on the November ballot) endorsed Stringer # 1, Morales # 2 and Wiley # 3.

Why is the teacher union such a “player”?

200,000 members, teachers, paraprofessionals, guidance counselors, social workers, etc., plus retired members, called the “Daytime Army,” most are registered democrats, most live in New York City and most follow the union endorsements, plus, tens of thousand participating in the endorsement process.

The UFT endorsement is no guarantor of a victory, in 2013, William Thompson (formerly Comptroller and current chair of the CUNY Board of Trustees) finished far behind the winner (40% to 25%), Bill de Blasio in a four way race. (others Christine Quinn and John Liu); however, the bottom up endorsement process may have greatly mobilized the membership.

Comments welcome

I’ll be tweeting Monday @edintheapple.

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