Melissa Mark-Viverito is claiming victory in the race for City Council speaker, saying she has the support of 30 council members, creating a coalition of progressives and Brooklyn democrats, a group that sources say was put together with the help of the mayor-elect. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito claims that she will be the next speaker of the City Council.
Late Wednesday, Mark-Viverito sent out a press release listing 31 names, all council members, who pledged to support her candidacy for City Council speaker.
In a statement, Mark-Viverito said that her victory was the culmination of two decades of work and said that she would work towards a more inclusive City Council. She was not available to go on camera to comment.
There is an unlikely coalition behind Mark-Viverito, which included the Progressive Caucus, Brooklyn Democrats and even Queens Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich.
Most say it's a group brought together by one person: Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.
Her rival, Manhattan's Daniel Garodnick, was not ready to call it quits.
In a statement, Garodnick said, "It is premature to declare victory. We are going to elect a speaker on January 8, and I hope to earn the votes of my colleagues then."
It was Brooklyn Democratic party boss Frank Seddio who gave Mark-Viverito a majority. His allegiance flipped from Garodnick and the other county bosses to Mark-Viverito early Wednesday.
Sources tell NY1 that the move was prompted by fellow Brooklynite Bill de Blasio. The mayor-elect called Seddio and urged him to unify his council delegation behind the East Harlem councilwoman, sources say.
It's the latest move by de Blasio and his team, who are aggressively pitching Mark-Viverito to council members.
"I talked to some council members. I gave them my observations on what's going on," de Blasio said. "But they are going to make their own decision."
City Councilman Peter Koo of Queens: The mayor-elect's office has called me a couple of times, yes.
Q: Has he offered you anything?
Koo: I'm not prepared to say all this on camera.
Koo was not on Mark-Viverito's list, but City Councilman David Greenfield of Brooklyn was.
"Melissa's smart, she's a hard worker, and she has great integrity," Greenfield said.