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City Council Speaker's Race a Careful Political Calculation for Many Involved

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Behind the scenes, the race for City Council Speaker was a careful political calculation for many, from the mayor to individual Council members. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

The vote for City Council speaker Wednesday afternoon was a vote that showed that hours in politics can be a lifetime.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, City Councilwoman Annabel Palma of the Bronx said, "[Daniel] Garodnick is still definitely in this race." At 1:30 p.m., she cast her vote for "[Melissa] Mark-Viverito."

Mark-Viverito's votes went from 31 to 51 when Garodnick's team backed down. It was a win that her supporters had carefully orchestrated for two months.

"When it was clear that Melissa would be the champion of the progressive bloc, and, of course, with the support of the mayor, then we did everything we could to line up those votes in conjunction with the members of the caucus," said Bob Master, co-chair of the Working Families Party.

It was a unanimous vote that came down to the wire.

Sources say that late Tuesday, Garodnick knew he didn't have the votes, prompting negotiations.

"At some point in the night, it was obvious that they weren't going to get there," said City Councilman Mark Weprin of Queens. "And then, it was a question of, 'Well, what do we do now?'"

"I know there has been discussions between the county leaders and the mayor's office," Palma said Wednesday.

"We wanted to arrive at a point of agreement, we wanted to have unity in the Council, and that we wanted to work with everyone," Mark-Viverito said. "That was the message that we were sending."

Early Wednesday, Garodnick's team sat down to decide if they would fight on the chamber floor. At the time, they were talking not only to Mark-Viverito's team, but also to the mayor's office.

"We met with the mayor's office, and no promises were made," Weprin said. "The only promise that was made is that we will not seek retribution for certain people having come in late to the game."

Now that the deal is done, the question for many Council members is who exactly gets what.

"We have to obviously appoint the members to each committee and who's going to lead the committee, so that would be part of the first order of business," Mark-Viverito said.

Everyone has a favorite.

"I mentioned that public safety wasn't one of the issues that I want," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn.

"My background puts me right in the wheelhouse of labor," said City Councilman I. Daneek Miller of Queens.

"I'm looking forward to being helpful in moving the Council forward under her leadership," said City Councilman Brad Lander of Brooklyn.

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