New York, NY—It's a crowded council race in District 5 and voters may be having a hard time deciding which candidate they will vote for first in the city’s first-ever ranked choice voting, but candidate Kim Moscaritolo, who received an important endorsement recently, said she is able to stand out from the pack with the strong base she’s built in the community.

Indivisible Upper East Side, which is part of a national network of progressive organizers and has over 500 members, voted for their preferred candidates in a poll after a District 5 candidate forum last Thursday and the group provided their 1st ranked choice vote to Moscaritolo.

She said that she’s been involved with the group since 2017, and that the organization has done an excellent job of engaging a lot of people on the Upper East Side who hadn’t previously been involved with politics.

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“I think having the support of a very sort of community-focused, grassroots-focused group is really meaningful,” said Moscaritolo.

The group consists of people who tend to get really involved in local races by making phone calls, and talking to their neighbors and friends.

“So, as a candidate, it’s exciting to have support from an organization like that in the neighborhood,” she added.

Moscaritolo pointed to her long-time commitment to the district as a possible reason why she received the 1st Rank endorsement. She’s been organizing politically in the district for over a decade and has been a district leader since 2015.

“I rallied around key issues like saving the United States Postal Service by organizing a rally last year before the November elections. I was very active in organizing canvasses and phone banks around both the 2018 and 2020 elections, and I’ve also worked really hard to educate people,” said Moscaritolo.

She noted that a lot of people care very much about national politics, but aren’t terribly engaged in what is going on locally. So, she attended and spoken at a lot of the Indivisible meetings, explaining to folks about things like the local judicial process, things like county committee, as well as trying to recruit people to serve on the Democratic County Committee, which is a very hyperlocal party office, but has a great impact.

“I really do think that the combination of my longstanding commitment to the district, the work I’ve done around in organizing elections and also just the work I’ve done to bring people into the process and really explain the local political process—I think ultimately those were the reasons that folks decided that I would be their first ranked choice,” Moscaritolo said.

In an interview, we asked her how can she distinguish herself from some of the other candidates. 

As already noted, she credits her local political activity for the past decade as one reason. The second—her 20 years as a journalist working at both CNN and Bloomberg News.

“I think my background working as a journalist gives me a unique insight in a way that I don’t know any other candidates really have [because] I have been very focused on things like transparency and accountability,” said Moscaritolo.

She added, “So, I would say that both my perspective and background in journalism, as well as my long-time commitment to the district are two things that I think really distinguishes me from the other candidates, and I hope that the voters will look at those two things and realize I have the skills, the commitment and the passion to really represent the district well on the City Council.”

A couple of the candidates, Julie Menin and Rebecca Lamorte, have received significant organized labor support, which can deploy a significant number of volunteers during the campaigning. We asked Moscaritolo if that makes her campaigning a little more difficult.

She doesn’t think so, and from the very beginning she’s never considered herself an “establishment” candidate.

She’s also received significant endorsements from local elected officials, such as Sen. Liz Krueger (D, WF-28), Sen. José M. Serrano (D, WF-29) and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright (76th Assembly District), which is the kind of local support she believes will propel her in the race.

“I think that local support is really ultimately what is going to translate into a victory in this race because I think folks and voters in this district know these leaders, they know what they stand for and if they support a candidate, then I think it’s clear to them that that’s the kind of candidate they want to get behind,” Moscaritolo said.

“So, I think having that local support is going to be instrumental in winning this race.”

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