Even though there are 837 days until the city’s next election cycle, two prominent Queens City Councilmembers, David Weprin and Melinda Katz, have already declared their intention to run for City Comptroller in 2009 setting off an earlier and longer campaign season than the current presidential primary.
“That’s a product of term limits,” said Councilmember Katz, referring to her early candidacy announcement. “I have never been a proponent of term limits because you really have to think about what you want to do early on.”
Both candidates have officially registered their intentions to run for City Comptroller with the New York City Campaign Finance Board and have racked up impressive donation totals more than two years before the primary.
Weprin, who is the chair of the Council’s Finance Committee, has already raised $1,011,114 for the campaign while Katz, who Chair’s the Council’s Land Use Committee had raised $665,702, according to the latest filings with the City Campaign Finance Board.
In addition, Brooklyn Assemblymember James Brennan has also announced his candidacy for the position, raising $209,289, according to the filings.
After serving as a legislator in both the Council and the Assembly, Katz said she wanted a change and did some soul searching before deciding to run for City Comptroller.
“This is one of the best jobs in policy in the city of New York,” Katz said. “It’s an office that can have great impact.”
On the other side, Weprin touted his experience as Chair of the Finance Committee since 2002 and his financial background on Wall Street before entering the council, which he believes gives him a leg up as the choice to succeed current Comptroller Bill Thompson.
“I would put my resum/ against hers [Katz] and let the voters decide,” Weprin said.
Already, organizations have begun publicly endorsing the two candidates.
Recently the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which represent 45,000 New York workers, publicly endorsed Katz on the steps of City Hall citing her leadership and support throughout the years.
“We know that Melinda has the experience, ability and talent to be an outstanding steward of the city’s finances,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “But, what makes good comptrollers great is their ability to use the resources and power of the office as an instrument to raise the concerns of working men and women and shape corporate policy – and Melinda will be a great comptroller.”
Both candidates say they are already beginning to hold fundraisers, meet with different civic and community groups throughout the city to increase their visibility - all while continuing to fulfill their obligation as a councilmember, which includes working together on issues affecting their constituents.
“It’s politics,” Katz said. “People run for the same spot. In the end everyone wants what’s best for the city.”
“I don’t think it will have any affect at all; we are both professionals,” Weprin said.