It’s official: Garodnick out of comptroller race

Borough President Scott Stringer and Council Member Dan Garodnick at a Stuyvesant Town press conference in 2009

By Sabina Mollot

On Wednesday afternoon, Council Member Dan Garodnick officially dropped out of the race for city comptroller, a little over a week after Borough President Scott Stringer said he would be throwing his own hat in the ring.

Political insiders are saying they didn’t see the move by Stringer, who’d previously been running for mayor, as a surprise, and initially Garodnick said he’d continue to run. However, he changed his tune this week when he decided to throw his support behind Stringer and instead run for a third term in the Council.

“The challenges (facing the city) are significant,” Garodnick said shortly before his official announcement, “and I didn’t want to distract from those issues with a contentious campaign for comptroller against a friend.”

According to Garodnick, when he decided to run for the position, it was because he thought the city was in need of “independent leadership,” but now, “with Scott we have that opportunity,” he said. At that time, Comptroller John Liu, who is running for mayor, was caught in a scandal relating to his campaign employees and improper fundraising.

Getting reelected shouldn’t prove too tough for the popular Democrat, and Mark Thompson, a Stuyvesant Town resident who’d previously announced he was running to fill Garodnick’s seat, said on Wednesday that his own campaign has been put on hold.

“It’s Dan, so I’m okay with it,” said Thompson, who said he’ll just try again for the 4th Council District seat in another four years.  “Dan Garodnick has been great in the City Council and I support his run for reelection,” he added.

Stringer has so far managed to raise more in his campaign war chest than Garodnick, and has been campaigning longer. Garodnick amassed about $1.25 million at the time of his last filing in July. He said he has raised more since then though and hasn’t changed plans, made prior to his announcement, to hold another fundraising event on Saturday morning at Percy’s Tavern.

Garodnick also commented on unfinished business in his district he’d like to work on in the Council, such as the “continuing challenges in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper and Waterside.”

There and in other areas, he noted, “There are land use challenges like flooding of our infrastructure. We’ve got the East Side rezoning that’s coming up. These are some top priorities.”

In published reports on Tuesday about his then-rumored dropping out of the comptroller race, it was mentioned that Garodnick was eyeing the Council’s speaker position.

However, in response, Garodnick said that while, “I’ve read that too, I haven’t looked at it.”

That position is now occupied by mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn, who many believe to be the frontrunner, especially now, according to a recent New York Post report.

A spokesperson for Stringer’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment by Town & Village’s press time.