Former insurgent gubernatorial candidates Cynthia Nixon and Zephyr Teachout have endorsed out gay Queens City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer in his campaign for borough president.
Nixon, who is an out lesbian, and Teachout are touting Van Bramer’s credentials as a progressive running a campaign based on challenging the status quo and the influence of big money in politics.
“Whether bringing people together to defend immigrant communities, fighting for funding for our precious public libraries, safer streets, or the MTA, or standing up against Trump’s hateful rhetoric and policies, Jimmy is a champion for the people,” the former “Sex and the City” star said in a written statement on December 23. “Queens needs a progressive fighter who won’t be beholden to political bosses, rich donors, or big corporations.”
Teachout voiced similar sentiments, describing Van Bramer as the “only candidate in this race who’s proven throughout his career that he’s not afraid to take on powerful interests and win.”
“From defeating Amazon, to defying the party bosses, to organizing to get money out of politics, Jimmy is the true progressive choice for Queens Borough President,” Teachout said.
Van Bramer has close ties to Nixon through her wife, Christine Marinoni, whom Van Bramer has known since the early 1990s when they were both involved in the effort to allow the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization to march in Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
“We need real progressives like Jimmy Van Bramer willing to fight back against billion dollar corporations and put people first,” Nixon added. “We don’t need more party politicians beholden to big real estate.”
Nixon received 537,192 votes, or 34 percent, in her long-shot Democratic primary bid against Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2018, while Teachout lost to the governor by a similar margin in the 2014 primary, when she earned 33.5 percent with 192,210 votes. Teachout went on to run for state attorney general in 2018 and finished nine points behind the victor, Letitia James, in a contest that also included out gay Congressmember Sean Patrick Maloney, who trailed Teachout in the final tally.
“These are women who’ve shown us what’s possible when we have the courage to reject business as usual and stand up to the political interests that have dominated our democracy for far too long,” Van Bramer said of the endorsements. “It’s time for a Queens free from the influence of developers, a Queens that unites to protect immigrant communities, a Queens with good schools, with safe streets, and affordable housing for all.”
Van Bramer has sought to firmly position himself in the progressive lane in a year when he was outspoken in his opposition to a major move by Amazon into Queens that would have been backed by several billion dollars in public funding and became the first elected official to back out queer Queens district attorney candidate Tiffany Cabán during her oh-so-close Democratic primary campaign.
Van Bramer, first elected to the Council in 2009 representing Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, and Astoria, is running in a crowded field to replace Queens District Attorney-Elect Melinda Katz for borough president in a special election. His opponents include Councilmembers Donovan Richards and Costa Constantinides, former Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman, and retired NYPD sergeant Anthony Miranda.
The date for the special election has yet to be announced.