A political operative at a prominent union diminished by the Covid-19 pandemic has been tapped to lead Eric Adams’ mayoral campaign.
Katie Moore, political director of the city’s Hotel Trades Council, will be campaign manager for the bid the Brooklyn borough president kicked off with a virtual announcement last week.
Adams has also hired Nathan Smith of Red Horse Strategies as his lead consultant and Evan Thies of Pythia Public Affairs to handle communications.
Moore’s move does not automatically signal the union’s plans for the Democratic primary next year, but sources familiar with its political process have said Adams is among the candidates in contention for the endorsement. Maya Wiley and Scott Stringer are also said to be on the organization’s short list.
“This is a critical moment for New York City, and Eric is the leader this city needs to recover from the pandemic, tackle inequality by making our government more efficient and effective and improve quality of life for everyday New Yorkers,” Moore said in a statement.
The hotel workers union has emerged in recent years as one of the most sought-after endorsers for city politicians, despite a small membership relative to other influential labor organizations like 1199SEIU, which represents health care workers. It was instrumental in Corey Johnson’s rise to the speakership in 2017 and Ritchie Torres’ winning congressional bid earlier this year. It also scored several legislative victories under Johnson’s leadership, most notably a bill designed to stymie the proliferation of Airbnb, which poses an existential threat to standard hotels.
The union also stood out as one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s only supporters when he ran a long-shot bid for president last year. It has since been crippled by the pandemic’s slaughter on the city’s tourism industry, casting doubt on the power of its backing.
In 2013, the last time New Yorkers had an opportunity to elect a new mayor, HTC backed former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who lost the primary and is said by those close to her to be considering another run for the office next year.
Torres called Moore “one of the most talented and trusted people you could ever meet in politics.”
“Whether you’re running a political campaign or a labor union, Katie is exactly the kind of operative you want beside you in the trenches of New York City politics,” Torres said.
Moore got her start as an organizer at the now-defunct ACORN, a left-leaning group focused on political organizing. She worked on the 2004 presidential election through America Coming Together before taking a job with 1199, which is widely viewed as the most important labor endorsement in local elections. She was campaign manager for City Council Member Francisco Moya’s Assembly victory in 2010 and joined HTC four years ago.
Adams launched his mayoral campaign with more than $2.1 million in his account and a video showcasing his biography: One of six children raised by a single mother who cleaned houses, he described being assaulted by police officers before becoming a cop himself. After 22 years on the force he began a career in politics, and is considered a leading candidate in the crowded field.
His relatively smooth rollout was quickly tainted by several blunders.
One of his top aides was forced to publicly apologize for attending a party with Brooklyn Democratic Party officials in apparent violation of guidance on indoor gatherings. Many were photographed without wearing masks.
The Daily News then published a video of Adams delivering remarks at an indoor fundraiser, in which several attendees were reportedly seated in close quarters without masks. Thies said the event did not flout any regulations and emphasized the importance of supporting small businesses.