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Competing Candidates Cross Endorse in Tactic Brought About by Rank Choice Voting

Debra Markell and Harpreet S. Toor are both running to represent the 23rd Council District in eastern Queens. The pair both called on their supporters to rank the other second (Photo: Twitter)

June 9, 2021 By Ryan Songalia

Several city council candidates who are competing against one another are cross endorsing in a new tactic brought about by rank choice voting.

Nabaraj KC and Austin Shafran, both candidates running to represent District 19 in northeast Queens, announced their support Tuesday for one another as their number two choices in the upcoming Democratic primary.

The cross-endorsement came the same day that two candidates in another Queens race – Debra Markell and Harpreet Singh Toor in District 23 – announced a similar partnership. Their district, which is currently represented by Barry Grodenchik, encompasses Douglaston, Little Neck, Glen Oaks and surround areas.

The concept of supporting a rival in the same race is a new concept in New York City politics.

“Never before in the history of NYC elections have candidates looked to collaborate in the way that’s happening now,” said Donald Kaplan, Toor’s campaign manager. “Everything was pure competition, and now ranked choice has created an opportunity for people to work together.”

Thomas Musich, communications director for the Nabaraj KC campaign, noted that cross-endorsements of candidates in the same races has happened in other cities with ranked choice voting, like San Francisco. He says it is likely to become more prevalent in New York, depending on the outcomes in these races.

“I think there’s a lot more collaboration and there’s a lot less negative campaigning,” Musich said in reference to ranked choice voting. “[Negative campaigning] still exists of course and it’s still out there, but I think it’s definitely toned down a bit.”

KC was endorsed by Shafran in College Point yesterday, and returned the favor today in Bayside where Shafran lives.

Both are running to replace the term-limited Paul Vallone.

“Austin and I have become good friends over the course of this campaign, and I know that as a City Council Member, he would put the needs of his constituents first,” KC said.

Shafran, who worked for former U.S. Congressman Gary Ackerman and former council member David Weprin, said KC would make the district a more family-friendly place to live.

“Nabaraj is a thoughtful and devoted leader who has consistently gone above and beyond for his community,” Shafran said.

KC said the two campaigns will canvass together and will be able to cover more territory ahead of election day on June 22.

He says the coalition building and reduction in negative campaigning means the ranked choice voting reforms are working.

“Candidates are not enemies or opponents anymore, so you have to work together,” KC said.

KC, a businessman and civic leader, would be the first Nepalese-American to be on the New York City council if elected.

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5 Comments

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Lydia

Certain endorsements can make such a difference. Maya Wiley jumped to 2nd place in polls after AOCs endorsement!! Hopefully NYC will elect the first black woman as mayor. Seems like her campaign commercials to defund the police are working. People are tired of hearing about crime. We all know that after the election all of a sudden we will be told that crime has decreased, not a major problem in this city, police reform will be enacted to keep everyone happy and focus will be elsewhere.

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Johnny Cakes

Hopefully it won’t be Ms. Wiley who says one thing and then does another. Eric Adams has paid his dues and has been front and center in NYC politics and media for a long time now. He knows what’s needed for the city. Sick of being told do as I say, not as I do

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Very cold

Are you deluded? Crime is real. I guess you were never a crime victim – lucky you. You are cold, very cold

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dumb voting rules

ranked voting seems like the stupidest thing Ive ever heard. Its already a challenge to get one person to be knowledgeable and get out and vote. Now I have to research 20 people and choose 5??
Ill quote a great youtube song…. ain’t nobody got time fo dat!!!

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