In recent weeks, Norman “Sobie” McGill has found himself immersed in a whirlwind of activity. Following Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner’s resignation on January 4, 2024, a special election was promptly initiated. However, Governor Kathy Hochul’s failure to publicize the election through the appropriate channels added an element of urgency. Once Hochul issued a proclamation on January 12, 2024, there was a short window to select a new candidate, followed by a brief period for the election itself ending on February 13, 2024.
Fortunately, the Bronx Republican Party and the Bronx County Conservative Party were prepared, swiftly mobilizing to identify, interview, and endorse a candidate. While the Democrats encountered challenges, cycling through two candidates due to questionable circumstances, the Republicans and Conservatives managed to navigate the process despite the tight timeframe.
Amid McGill’s packed schedule, I seized a few moments to converse with him amidst his engagements with politicians, petitioners, and constituents. His workspace exuded an air of seasoned political prowess, with McGill commanding his office and staff efficiently amidst a backdrop of awards and commendations from elected officials.
Attending the introduction ceremony of Republican City Councilwoman Kristy Marmorato, McGill’s ease in conversing with Democratic officials stood out, offering a refreshing departure from the typical partisan divide. Yet, as election day approaches, one wonders if this camaraderie will endure.
Chairman of the Bronx County Conservative Party, Patrick McManus, expressed pride in endorsing McGill, citing his impressive background and community engagement as indicative of his potential effectiveness in office. McManus stated that, during the interview process, he abstains from swaying votes and lets the candidates speak for themselves, and not only did McGill say everything right, but everyone was impressed with his overall resume. “I really look forward to seeing what he could do in office,” McManus added. McGill received a unanimous decision during the Conservative Party endorsement interview.
While canvassing with conservative party members, McGill effortlessly connected with constituents, receiving enthusiastic support despite the traditionally Democratic-leaning landscape. Many seemed to know him already, ensuring they had his vote and asking how they could help. When prompted about the low numbers in the early voting poll, McGill said, “This is the part that is killing us. The lack of knowledge of communicating on voting and resources hurts my people.”
During a brief break outside a Republican party meeting, McGill shared insights into his background, including his military service and deep-rooted commitment to community service. His decision to run for office, he explained, was a culmination of his consistent track record of leadership and dedication to serving others.
“Running for office was not in my plans, but the people asked me, it was thrust upon me. And I see it as my duty to fight for them. They know once I am a part of something it becomes bigger and that helps the people,” said McGill, reflecting on his many other titles that came about in the same fashion.
The last question I asked him for this interview was, “What is the proudest accomplishment you have completed in your career so far?” His response: “Raising my three boys into men. I raised them with my lovely wife, they are good and set for bright futures and stability. No troubles or worries for them.”
As for the origin of his nickname “Sobie,” that remains a tale for another day.