Botcher and Marte Elected Co-Chairs of Manhattan Delegation, What’s Next for Powers?

Council Members Erik Bottcher and Christ Marte were re-elected to their role as co-chairs of the ten-member Manhattan delegation on the City Council. Their reelection was rote, but it comes after the jolt earlier this month when Keith Powers, the Democratic majority leader, was suddenly ousted by Adrienne Adams, the City Council speaker.

| 13 Jan 2024 | 11:04

The ten-member Manhattan delegation of the City Council re-elected Erik Bothcher and Chris Marte to be the co-chairs of the Manhattan delegation, seemingly securing steady leadership for up to six years.

It assures that the Manhattan delegation has a foot in both the Progressive wing of the council and those who are not part of that caucus. Marte is a member of the Progress Caucus; Bottcher is not.

The year had already begun with a jolt for the Manhattan delegation when Keith Powers, a council member representing Stuyvesant Town and the Upper East Side, was ousted from his role as Democratic majority leader by speaker Adrienne Adams and replaced by Amanda Farías of the Bronx, who is a member of the Progressive Caucus.

The election would also seem to point to sustained leadership over the next six years. Bothcher and Marte are both eligible to run for re-election to the Council in two years. Powers, like Carlina Rivera, who represents the East Village/and mid-town East, and Diana Ayala, who represents El Barrio, East Harlem and Mott Haven, cannot run for reelection due to term limits.

Some are already quietly talking up Powers as a potential Congressional candidate, depending on how the redistricting shapes up. The New York State Court of Appeals ordered the Independent Redistricting Commission to release its plan for new Congressional districts by Feb. 28.

“Keith Powers could be a strong candidate in a re-drawn congressional seat election campaign,” said veteran Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf. “He is well liked, has a record of accomplishment. It could be a campaign defined as his quiet accomplishment versus glitz and dough.”

Right now the current Congressional lineup, of course, includes Jerry Nadler, veteran West Side Congressman who now represents both the East and West Side after defeating 30-year veteran Congress member Carolyn Maloney in a Democratic primary last August in the redrawn district. Downtown and Brooklyn went to Dan Goldman who won after securing the nomination in a crowded Democratic primary.

Nobody knows how the districts will be redrawn. One of the people Goldman beat in the primary was City Council member Carlina Rivera, who could also be expected to make another run for a Congressional seat when her term ends, again depending on how the redrawing goes.

The third term limited council member in the ten-member Manhattan delegation is Diana Ayala, who represents El Barrio, East Harlem and Mott Haven and has strong community ties in northern Manhattan.

Powers and Ayala had both reportedly sought the speaker’s job that went to Adrienne Adams back in 2021. After he withdrew in favor of Adams, Powers was said to have then lobbied behind the scenes for her over Francisco Moya of Queens. That made his ouster earlier this month from the #2 leadership post all the more shocking to some insiders.

Powers broke with the Progressive Caucus of the council in Feb. 2023 when was among 15 council members who refused to sign a mission statement that included controversial planks including calling for a reduction in the size of the NYPD. Adrienne Adams also did not ink the pact, but due to a technicality, remains part of the caucus by dint of her speaker’s role. Mayor Eric Adams has been critical of the “woke” Progressive Caucus, saying he believes it is out of touch with their constituents on many issues, including policing.

Powers played it low key after his ouster. “It’s been an honor to be the majority leader of the City Council,” Powers said in an interview with Politico “and I continue to be excited about the opportunity to work on legislative issues in the council and try to lend my voice to the most important issues affecting the city.”

He did not respond to texts from Straus News on whether he’d have Congressional ambitions after his City Council term ends.

The next step is less pressing for Botcher and Marte. Both were elected for the first time in November 2021, both were re-elected in landslide wins this past November and both can run for a new four year term in November 2024 when the council returns to its more traditional four year terms.