Adolfo Carrión knows this for sure, come November, he will be the only Latino choice for mayor on the ballot. The lifelong Democrat who served in the City Council, President of the Bronx and in the Obama Whitehouse, shocked supporters early this year when he abandoned the party to run for mayor on the Independence Party line. According to Carrión, both parties no longer serve the needs of voters, particularly communities of color.
“The Democratic Party has taken for granted Latino and African American voters and the Republican Party has largely ignored both communities,” the 52-year-old married father of four explained. “Voters are looking for a third option.”
It’s a gamble that worked for the city’s current mayor Michael Bloomberg. However, Bloomberg is a billionaire and self-financed his three elections spending close to a billion dollars over the last twelve years. Carrión isn’t a billionaire and despite being well liked by business groups and communities outside his Bronx base, his campaign has failed to get the kind of traction needed to rake in big donors.
However, the former teacher and urban planner's strategy to leave the party, which in New York number 7 to 1, may prove to be a politically clever move.
It allowed Carrión, the former head of the President Obama’s Office of Urban Affairs, to stay away from the scandalous dramas that engulfed candidates from his former party affiliation leaving the gifted campaigner time to visit every corner of the city taking his independent vision directly to voters.
During a Latino festival in El Barrio, 65-year old Maria, a lifelong Democrat and Puerto Rican grandmother, was excited to have had a chance to speak with the candidate about the issues that she cares most about: public education and affordable housing. She was happy with what she heard too. Asked if she would cross party lines and vote for Carrión who is also Puerto Rican, the Harlem resident gushed.
“Yes, he is one of us,” she declared. “And he understands the issues personally.”
That is the kind of enthusiasm Carrión is banking on. And because he is assured a spot in the November ballot no matter who wins on the Democrat or Republican side, it might actually work.
Read the candidate's interview on page 2 >>