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Danny O’Donnell Campaigns at Stonewall

LGBTQ voters, enthusiasm sought days before public advocate election

Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell, a public advocate hopeful, with drag artist Marti Gould Cummings.
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Out gay Manhattan Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell, this past weekend, brought his campaign for public advocate directly to a base likely most charged up about his candidacy —the LGBTQ community — when he held an event at the Stonewall Inn.

“GOTV (Gay Out the Vote!) Great talking to gay voters this evening, telling them about the special election in TWO DAYS!” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

O’Donnell posed with bar patrons and drag queens as he made his case to sway voters in the days before the election to fill the vacancy left by State Attorney General Letitia James’ election in November. The 58-year-old lawmaker is backed in the race by the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, which voted to endorse him last month.

Among entertainers on hand to boost O’Donnell was Marti Allen-Cummings — whose drag artist performance moniker is Marti Gould Cummings. Allen-Cummings is the founding president of Hell’s Kitchen Democrats and a member of both Community Board 9 and the city’s Nightlife Advisory Board.

The assemblymember is making his final push ahead of the February 26 special election.

O’Donnell has focused his campaign on stressing his independence from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo and voicing skepticism of powerful corporate interests like Amazon. He has also emphasized over and over that he does not see the public advocate post as a stepping stone to a mayoral run.

During the Stonewall Democrats’ endorsement event last month, O’Donnell underscored his work in the Assembly to help bring marriage equality to New York. He also was a prime sponsor of the Dignity for All Students Act, an anti-bullying measure that was implemented in 2012.

The assemblymember recalled the resistance he faced from Republican colleagues on both of those initiatives — and his refusal to back down.

“I was told, ‘If you settle for civil unions, if you take out the trans community, we’ll pass it tomorrow.’ I said, ‘Hell no, I don’t compromise on people’s rights.’”

O’Donnell participated in the first debate for public advocate earlier this month, but failed to qualify for the second debate, which was held last week. In order to qualify for the second debate, candidates needed to raise and spend at least $170,813.

Other prominent candidates in the hunt tomorrow include Brooklyn City Councilmember Jumaane Williams, Bronx Assemblymember Michael Blake, and former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. O’Donnell is the only gay candidate in the race, but he doesn’t want you voting for him because of it.

“I’m not asking for your vote because I’m gay,” O’Donnell declared last month. “I am asking for your vote because I’m the most qualified and most experienced.

Updated 9:54 am, February 26, 2019
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