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Jumaane Williams picks progressive activist as running mate in New York governor’s race

Credit: The Center for Popular Democracy
Credit: The Center for Popular Democracy

NEW YORK NOW - Nearly two weeks after the state’s Democratic Party Convention, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams selected Columbia-born activist Ana Maria Archila as his running mate in the race for New York State governor.

Archila is a progressive advocate who moved to the United States at 17. She has worked with Make the Road NY and the Center for Popular Democracy, but is perhaps best known for a  2018 elevator confrontation with Jeff Flake, a former U.S. Senator from Arizona, about his support of then-nominee Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court.

At Monday’s announcement, Archila said the struggles of everyday New Yorkers are what motivated her to run.

“I’m running because right now it’s just too hard for too many people across our state—too hard to make rent, too hard to feed our families, and too hard to get the medical care we need,” she said.

“After four years of Trump and two years of a global pandemic, we still have a Governor and Lieutenant Governor who serve the interests of the billionaires and big corporations.”

The Williams-Archila ticket is endorsed by the Working Families Party of New York, while the Democratic Party sided with Gov. Kathy Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin earlier this month.

That means Hochul and Benjamin have secured a spot on the ballot for the June primary, but Williams and Archila will have to gather 15,000 petition signatures to appear on the ballot.

However, because candidates for lieutenant governor run separately from gubernatorial candidates in New York’s primaries, a win for one candidate on the ticket doesn’t necessarily mean the same for their running mate.

At the Democratic convention, Williams fell about 13 points short of the 25% support required to get on the ballot, but said that wasn’t a surprise, as he was already prepared to petition.

“As an organizer, I relish something you can organize around. The petitioning process in 2018 was our first big bump,” Williams said.

“Think about all the people who are going to go out and express our vision in a way that the party has often forgotten how to do.”

Archila joins a field already populated by current Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, as well as Rep. Tom Suozzi’s running mate and former New York City Council Member Diana Reyna.

New York’s primary election is scheduled for June 28th.