It’s Election Day in New York next Thursday! But instead of a titanic battle between ideologies–your Mitt Romneys vs. Barack Obamas, if you will–the options on the ballot will be little-noticed state legislative contests between candidates of the same party, often with few policy differences.
At the end of last week, Sheepshead Bites reported that Ben Akselrod, campaigning for the State Assembly in southeastern Brooklyn, mistakenly sent out campaign literature describing crime going up in the “negrohood.”
“Dear Friend, I am running for Assembly because I believe the number 1 job of that office is to keep the community safe,” Mr. Akselrod wrote. “The current assemblyman has allowed crime to go up over 50% in our negrohood so far this year. I am fighting for video cameras throughout our community to protect our seniors who are the most vulnerable and cut down on anti-semitic attacks in our community. I will also make sure the mayor gives our community more police to patrol our streets.”
New York’s only branch of the controversial fried chicken sandwich chain Chick-Fil-A is located in an NYU cafeteria, but if a self-proclaimed Tea Partier running for State Assembly has his way the restaurant will soon set up shop in South Brooklyn. As a response to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s letter asking NYU to close the campus Chick-Fil-A after the owner of the chain declared his opposition to same-sex marriage, Mr. Gallo sent a letter of his own. Mr. Gallo wrote to Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-Fil-A, saying, “I would like to invite your company to consider opening a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in southern Brooklyn.”
Democratic Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz, facing one of the more competitive primary and general election battles in the city (especially if one just looks at assembly seats), may lose a tool many candidates covet: the Independence Party line. A paperwork snafu with his “Certificate of Acceptance” — needed to formally accept another party’s designation — will void the signatures he gathered to appear on the ballot under the Independence banner, multiple political observers told us.
“I am as Tea Party as they come,” Russell Gallo, a district leader and head of a young Republican club in Brooklyn, announced yesterday afternoon. “Fiscal conservative. On social issues I don’t think anyone can be more conservative than I. Marriage can only be between one man and one woman in my opinion, and I will vote that way every chance I get if elected.”
The Democratic electorate in southern Brooklyn is changing, with the Russian and Orthodox Jewish vote becoming increasingly salient, and Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz knows it.
In Wednesday’s widely-circulated weekend edition of the Orthodox Jewish newspaper Hamodia, Mr. Cymbrowitz took out a full page ad that neither hides his secularism nor his political adherence to conservative political principles, especially on the issue of gay marriage (which is only referred to as “legalizing immorality” in the ad).