From 1964 to 1986, Victor Gotbaum headed the city’s largest municipal union, District 37, through six elections, four mayors, and one nasty fiscal crisis. That didn’t stop the union on Thursday from—for the second election in a row—endorsing someone other than Gotbaum’s wife Betsy for public advocate. In 2001, the union picked then-Brooklyn Councilman Steve DiBrienza. This time, the nod went to former New York Civil Liberties Union head Norman Siegel.
The Siegel campaign—trying to beat Gotbaum four years after she trounced Siegel in a runoff—called the DC37 endorsement a boost, which it probably is, even though Siegel and Gotbaum four years ago both managed to beat DiBrienza despite his union support.
Siegel’s campaign is also pointing proudly to a Marist Poll that shows Gotbaum leading Norm by only seven points, 20-17. Of course, 50 percent answered they were undecided. More interesting is that Andrew Rasiej—who has the money to be considered a major challenger to Gotbaum—is stuck in sixth place with a mere 2 percent, behind some little-known candidates and ahead of only Damon Cabbagestalk, a recent college graduate.
(DC37 also backed Rosie Mendez [District 2], Dan Garodnick [District 4], Dan Quart [District 5], Felipe Luciano [District 8], Rodney Carroll [District 9], Jimmy Vacca [District 13], Darlene Mealy [District 41]).