Mixed Results Down Ballot
By Mary Alice Miller
For the first time in living memory a challenger has defeated a sitting Brooklyn District Attorney. Ken Thompson received 92,358 (55%) votes against Charles Hynes, who got 74,292 (44%). “When we announced this campaign months ago, I said that I am running for Brooklyn District Attorney because I believe there is no higher honor than serving you in the pursuit of justice,” said Thompson during his victory speech. “I have never backed away from a tough fight. As DA, I will root out corruption without regard to political or special interest influence, and I will do what’s right even when it’s not politically popular. As district attorney, I will fight to bring transparency, honesty and accountability to the public sector to give Brooklynites the government we deserve. Ken Thompson defeated incumbent District Attorney Charles Hynes – one of New York City’s
Longest-serving top prosecutors – with an aggressive barrage of criticism for a series of wrongful prosecutions that led to several innocent men languishing in prison. Unlike Thompson, Hynes had a 24-year career to selectively attack. But Hynes had his own share of campaign missteps, including being forced to apologize during an editorial meeting with Hamodia, a Jewish newspaper, for (on occasion) referring to those who pressure sex abuse victims and their families within Orthodox communities as behaving like the “Mafia.” (During recent years, a split was growing in the Jewish community between those who support the prosecution of child sex abusers and those who abhor the prosecution of pedophiles among them. The split was evident by select endorsements and support for Thompson’s campaign.) In another misstep, a published report on that same editorial meeting quoted Hynes as saying, “The black community, by and large, is mine. Every black Assembly member, every black state senator, every black council member, all of the district leaders, all support me.”
In a 6-way Democratic Primary, Bill de Blasio emerged the front-runner with 259,753 votes (40%), normally enough to prevent a runoff. Bill Thompson, who received 169,361 votes (20%), has not yet conceded and called for every vote to be counted. Every voice in New York City counts and were going to wait for every voice to be heard,” said Thompson on Election night. We’re going to wait for every voice to be counted.”
Any potential runoff is contingent upon thousands of ballots yet to be counted from mailed absentee ballots, from those in the military and those whose names were not in the voter rolls. Affidavit and emergency ballots will be collected from the lever mechanical voting machines on
Friday and the Board of Elections will start counting on Monday. Council Speaker Christine Quinn experienced a spectacular defeat. Quinn was effusive with thanks to her family and campaign staff and volunteers in her concession speech, but what she neglected to do was apologize to the entire city for creating a contentious atmosphere after partnering with Bloomberg to engineer a third term for citywide offices despite two referendum (at the time) in favor of term limits. Public Advocate will see a runoff between Council member Letitia James (175,780,- 30%) and State Senator Daniel Squadron (161,113 – 33%), generating a runoff at a cost that will be higher than the entire annual Public Advocate budget.
Comptroller candidate Scott Stringer (287,168 – 51%) eked out a narrow win over Eliot Spitzer (255,297 – 48%). Despite his “steamroller” approach to destroying African-American institutions like the Black United Fund of New York, Spitzer was able to enter the race during the last week of petitioning and went on to generate a significant portion of the Black vote.
Spitzer spent millions self-financing his campaign and in a rare sign of genius, contracted with a new political consulting organization with ties to businessman Clarence Norman, former Brooklyn Democratic County Leader. Norman had demonstrated he retains his expertise and connections despite a relentless political prosecution from DA Hynes.
Former Brooklyn Democratic County Leader who was forced to resign from that post and his Assembly seat over sexual harassment allegations, Vito Lopez’s campaign for City Council and what remained of his political career went down in flames.
The 35th Council District remains too close to call between Robert Cornegy (4,138 – 20%) and Kirsten Foy (4,044 – 20%) with a 94-vote difference between them and may end up in court. Assemblywoman Inez Barron (43%) won election to her husband’s council seat, opening the door to her husband running for her seat, something Our Time Press predicted almost two years ago. This year’s slate of 6 challengers is no different than previous years when numerous candidates fight among themselves for the anti-(either) Barron vote. They’ll learn. Or maybe not.
Laurie Cumbo won with 35% of the vote to succeed Letitia James in the 36th Council seat.Darlene Mealy, Jumaane Williams and Mathieu Eugene won reelection with healthy margins.Haitian-American Mercedes Narcisse lost her bid to represent the increasingly Caribbean Canarsie district to Assemblyman Alan Maisel. During the final weeks of the campaign, Narcisse had charged that Jewish voters in the district were receiving campaign literature that depicted her in a negative racial light. On the Republican side, mayoral candidate Joe Lhota (29,905 – 52.63%) defeated John A. Catsimatidis (23,053 – 40.57%). Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 6-1 but Democratic primary voters are not representative of the whole city as evidenced by 8 years of Republican Rudy Giuliani and 12 years of Republican-turned-Independent Michael Bloomberg.
As Dr. Esmeralda Simmons, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Social Justice predicted, the old mechanical lever voting machines generated widespread voting problems across the city. At the PS 23 polling site, machine #93682 in the 11ED 56AD broke at 6:30pm with 106 votes on the counter. 52 voters had to use paper ballots to vote.
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