2017 Primary Election: Open Seats in the New York City Council

This year marks the first municipal elections in which the three-term limit, enacted in a 2008 local law, is resulting in a number of vacancies: 7 of the 10 open seats in the New York City Council are vacant due to term limits. Because of the political dynamics of the city and state, incumbents face significantly less competition in elections than competitors for vacant seats; this year the 7 vacancies due to term limits have yielded far more competitive primaries than contests in which incumbents were challenged. At the time of the publication of this booklet, on average, seats open due to term limits attracted twice as many candidates (6) as contested primaries with incumbents running (3). While there are only 7 Council Members reaching term limits this year, in the municipal elections of 2021 a majority of Council seats will be vacated as a result.

In addition to the 7 term-limited vacancies, there are 3 other open seats where no incumbent is running due to either personal reasons or, in the case of Council Member Ruben Wills (District 28), criminal conviction related to the misuse of public funds. Notably, one open seat – that of Council Member David Greenfield (District 44), who announced plans not to seek re-election this year after the petition-filing deadline for candidates to get on the ballot had passed – has a Democratic Party primary candidate with no other challengers.

BRONX

Council District 8
Melissa Mark-Viverito (D) – Term Limit

Council District 13
James Vacca (D) – Term Limit

Council District 18
Anabel Palma (D) – Term Limit

BROOKLYN

Council District 41
Darlene Mealy (D) – Term Limit

Council District 43
Vincente Gentile (D) – Term Limit

Council District 44
David Greenfield (D) – New Job Opportunity

MANHATTAN

Council District 2
Rosie Mendez (D) – Term Limit

Council District 4
Dan Garodnick (D) – Term Limit

QUEENS

Council District 21
Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D) – Personal Reasons

Council District 28
Ruben W. Wills (D) – Convicted of fraud and grand larceny related to the misuse of public funds