About Democracy for NYC

Democracy for NYC (DFNYC) is committed to the ideals espoused by Democracy for America, the organization founded by Howard Dean, and the national network of local coalition groups dedicated to the same.

EndorsedLogo PlasticWe work both locally and nationally to ensure that fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates are elected at all levels of government. We develop innovative ways to advocate for the issues that matter to our members and support legislation which has a positive effect in our communities.  We promote transparency and ethical practices in government.  We engage people in the political process and give them the tools to organize, communicate, mobilize, and enact change on the local, state, and national level.

You can download our bylaws here.

About Democracy for New York City


Forum Participation Guidelines for Candidate Forums

Participation Guidelines for Candidates:

A candidate can attend our mayoral forum, scheduled for March 5th and co-sponsored with Act Now NY and Living Liberally, if he or she has:

1. Filed at the Board of Elections
2. Publicly announced he or she is running for mayor in the Democratic primary
3. Raised at least $5000 in the recent January 15th, 2013 filing

If a candidate has not met these criteria, he or she may be invited to attend under the "Liz Holtzman Rule":

The Liz Holtzman Rule is named for former Congresswoman Liz Holtzman*, who explored running for Attorney General in 2010. Though she had not filed and eventually decided not to run, her participation in DFNYC's forum was of great interest to our members. The Liz Holtzman exception essentially states that leadership may vote in favor of inviting a candidate who has not met all three of the criteria if that candidate's participation in the forum would be of interest to our members or helpful in their decision about who to support in the election.  

It's a judgement call: Each member of the leadership, when deciding if a candidate should get a Liz Holtzman exception, should consider the following factors: political career and history of political activism, perceived breath of support in the political community, potential to win the office sought, participation in other forums, and likelihood that his/her presence at the forum will contribute significantly to a discussion of the issues that will be faced by the next mayor.

In developing these new participation guidelines (a process that started in the summer of 2012), we felt that $5000 was a very low threshold for participation.  Opening it up to anyone running for mayor would result in a forum with several candidates who have done little more than express an interest in running.  Using polling data to determine participation, as done in US presidential debates, seems overly arbitrary given the challenge of accurate polling in Democratic primaries in local races. Making the financial threshold much greater would put too much emphasis on fundraising.  Democracy for NYC has been very strongly in favor of campaign finance reform and getting money out of politics. We understand that the current money chase is a horrendous system - both for democracy and for candidates.  

But the current reality is that fundraising matters.  Candidates have to raise money to get their message out.  With the primary in September (possibly sooner) any candidate that expects to run a real campaign for mayor of New York City should have raised at least $5000 by this past January 15th.  In fact, to be at all viable, a candidate should raise much more, but we felt that $5000 was a threshold that is fair and achievable.

If you have any questions about the participation guidelines, please feel free to contact us at info-at-dfnyc.org (replace -at- with @).

Click here to return to the event page for the mayoral forum.

*We have been in recent contact with Liz Holtzman, after developing this rule. She loves the Liz Holtzman Rule, and is happy to have it named after her.

Contact Information

Email: info -at- dfnyc.org


A local coalition group of Democracy for America since 2004

Democracy for NYC (DFNYC) is committed to the ideals espoused by Democracy for America, the organization founded by Howard Dean, and the national network of local coalition groups dedicated to the same.