As former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once said, all politics is local. The presidential election may be over, and the midterm elections may be two years away, but in the coming year, Manhattan will be the stage of several local elections that demand your attention.
2021 will be a pivotal election year for New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D) will all be reaching the end of their term limits – and it’ll be up to you to determine who will take their places. Several of Manhattan’s City Council districts will also be up for grabs – including that of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (District 3: Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen). As a reminder, these are the offices whose policies are likely to have a direct, immediate effect on your neighborhood.
The local elections will proceed in much the same manner as the national elections. The primary election for each party will run from now until June; afterwards, the winner of each will face off in a general election lasting until November.
The primaries will take place on June 22, while the general will take place on Nov. 2. Read below for a list of the candidates running for office and a brief description of what each office does.
NOTE: This page is a work in progress, and it will be updated regularly as new candidates enter the race. If there’s any candidate who you think deserves a spot on the page, please let us know.
Updated on 12/1/2020
The mayor of New York City, officially Mayor of the City of New York, is the head of our executive branch: the “president” of the City, if you will. This office administers all city services, public property, law enforcement, fire protection, and most public agencies – all the things that your tax dollars pay for.
Candidates without campaign website:
Art Chang, Thomas Downs, Vitaly Filipchenko, Max Kaplan, Julia Qing Reaves, Ahsan Syed, Isaac Wright Jr..
The office of New York City Public Advocate is a citywide elected position, which is first in line to succeed the mayor. The office serves as a direct link between the electorate and city government, effectively acting as an ombudsman, or watchdog, for New Yorkers.
The Office of Comptroller of New York City is our chief fiscal officer and chief auditing officer. Their job is to make sure that state and local governments are using your tax dollars efficiently and ethically. The comptroller is elected, citywide, to a four-year term and can hold office for two consecutive terms.
Manhattan District Attorney
The Manhattan District Attorney is responsible for the prosecution of violations of New York state laws (federal law violations in Manhattan are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York). The DA’s duties typically include reviewing police arrest reports, deciding whether to bring criminal charges against arrested people in the county, and prosecuting criminal cases in court.
Manhattan Borough President
The borough president proposes legislation, zoning changes, city-wide budget recommendations, and direction for land-use in the borough. Borough presidents appoint members to the New York City Planning Commission, and members to other local boards.
The New York City Council is a unicameral body consisting of 51 members, each elected from a geographic district.
The council serves as one of the “checks and balances” against the mayor in a mayor-council government model. They monitor the performance of city agencies and makes land use decisions, and legislate on a variety of other issues. The council also has sole responsibility for approving the city budget.
Out of the 51 council districts in New York City, 10 districts are located in the borough of Manhattan (1 through 10). All 10 districts are up for election in 2021.
The 2021 primaries will be the first to use ranked-choice voting after it was approved by a ballot question in 2019 election. Due to potential redistricting from the 2020 Census, candidates will also run for 2-year terms instead of 4-year terms for the first time, stemming from the NYC Charter overhaul in 1989. 4-year terms will resume in the 2025 election.
The 1st Council District is comprised of the Battery Park City, Civic Center, Chinatown, Financial District, Little Italy, the Lower East Side, NoHo, SoHo, South Street Seaport, South Village, TriBeCa, and Washington Square.
The 2nd Council District is comprised of the East Village, Gramercy Park, Kips Bay, Lower East Side, Murray Hill, and Rose Hill.
The 3rd Council District is comprised of Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village, West SoHo, Hudson Square, Times Square, Garment District, Flatiron, and the Upper West Side
The 4th Council District is comprised of the Upper East Side, Carnegie Hill, Yorkville, Central Park South, Midtown East, Times Square, Koreatown, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, Waterside Plaza, Tudor City, Turtle Bay, Murray Hill, and Sutton Place.
The 5th Council District is comprised of the Upper East Side’s Yorkville, Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, Roosevelt Island, Midtown East, Sutton Place, and El Barrio in East Harlem.
The 6th Council District is comprised of the Central Park, Lincoln Square, Upper West Side, and Clinton.
The 7th Council District is comprised of Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville, Morningside Heights, and Hamilton Heights.
The 8th Council District is comprised of El Barrio/East Harlem, Mott Haven, Highbridge, Concourse, Longwood, and Port Morris.
The 9th Council District is comprised of the Central Harlem, Morningside Heights, Upper West Side, and East Harlem.
The 10th Council District is comprised of the Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill.