NEW YORK — Last week, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson floated the idea of running for city comptroller, just five months after deciding not to run for mayor. This upcoming weekend, he’ll be taking another step towards launching an actual campaign.

NY1 has learned Johnson is expected to participate in a candidate's forum hosted by the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club as a prospective candidate.

When NY1 spoke with Johnson on Tuesday, he said he had not yet made a decision on the race, but was planning to participate in the forum. Johnson said he would make a decision on whether to officially become a candidate before March 3 — the day petitioning begins for the Democratic primary in June.

If Johnson were to enter the field, it would shake up a citywide race that has received little attention so far. There is already a long list of Democrats seeking the job as the city's chief fiscal steward including:

  • Manhattan State Sen. Brian Benjamin
  • Brooklyn Council Member Brad Lander
  • Queens State Assemblyman David Weprin
  • Brooklyn State Sen. Kevin Parker
  • Former television anchor Melissa Caruso-Cabrera
  • Entrepreneur Zach Iscol

One labor leader told NY1 their union was about to release an endorsement in the race, but is now holding off because of Johnson’s potential entry. Sources tell NY1 the council speaker is calling political players to gauge their support and appears to be leaning heavily towards entering the race.

Meanwhile, his potential opponents are bracing for the impact of someone with high name recognition and star power taking up the oxygen. Johnson already has hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash on hand and would clearly quickly make an impact.

However, with just four months to go until the primary, other big endorsements are already solidified. The Working Families Party, for instance, has endorsed Lander. And some progressives, still angry over the fight over cutting NYPD funding in the city budget battle last year, may not be inclined to support Johnson for comptroller.


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