Flanked by a coterie of elected officials, Donovan Richards declared victory last night in a wide-open, eight-way Queens City Council special election. Seven miles south, Pesach Osina did the same exact thing.
With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Richards leads Mr. Osina by just 26 votes, easily making the 31st District race too close for observers to call. Vote counting ceased at midnight and will resume today, but at last glance, Mr. Richards had 2,513 votes to Mr. Osina’s 2,487. In addition to a potentially missing memory stick from a ballot scanner, absentee and paper ballots still need to be counted. A recount is also likely, but each candidate acted like the undisputed victors nevertheless.
“I’m calling on the community tonight to put aside their differences. Those who ran in this election, let’s not be bitter against each other,” Mr. Richards said at a bustling lounge in Laurelton, Queens.
With last night’s elections, a number of seats changed hands between the Democratic and Republican parties across New York State, and indeed the entire country. But in the five boroughs of New York City, it was a one-way street.
At the congressional level, for example, the city lost half its Republican representation with the exit of Queens’ Bob Turner, who unsuccessfully ran for his party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate. GOP Councilman Dan Halloran had his sights on the remnants of Mr. Turner’s district in northeastern part of the borough, but the area’s solidly Democratic tendencies allowed Assemblywoman Grace Meng to easily leap over Mr. Halloran and secure a new gig in Washington D.C.
Although most of the attention last night was rightfully placed on the presidential race, a number of important state legislative campaigns were also waged, which, depending on how they turn out, could potentially have a significant impact on the legislation and policies that emerge out of Albany in the coming years. Notably, control of the New York State Senate hangs in the balance, and if Democrats win there, the party would control the trifecta of the state government as they already have an overwhelmingly majority in the State Assembly and a similarly aligned governor.
With one temporary exception, the senate has been continuously controlled by the GOP in recent years. Despite a large fundraising edge and an aggressive gerrymander which appeared to have locked in a Republican majority for the immediate future, a number of surprisingly strong Democratic victories pushed back against the conventional wisdom that they had no chance at reversing their fortunes this year,
New York State started off as a key battleground in the Democrats’ battle to retake control of the U.S. House, especially after the courts intervened in the redistricting plan and shook up a lot of traditional boundaries. However, most of these races were focused in areas further Upstate and the suburbs, leaving the heavily Democratic New York City with just two congressional elections of note.
In Queens, Democratic Assemblywoman Grace Meng faced off against GOP Councilman Dan Halloran for a seat crafted from the district remnants of outgoing Congressmen Bob Turner and Gary Ackerman. Despite Mr. Halloran’s polling showing the race a tie, those numbers did not pan out and Ms. Meng is currently ahead by roughly 2-to-1, which matches how Democrats have historically performed within the area.
No surprises here. President Barack Obama and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand both emerged victorious in New York State tonight.
Although countless voters remain in line at New York City precincts, which are required to remain open for all voters who showed up before 9 p.m., the Empire State’s overall preference for Democrats was still enough to overwhelm any ambiguity as to the ultimate victor.
At another press briefing at the city’s Office of Emergency Management in Brooklyn this evening, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the news that at least 18 New Yorkers have been killed by Hurricane Sandy’s bombardment last night, a number that could still rise. The total increased from this morning, when Mr. Bloomberg confirmed 10 deaths.
“Unfortunately, altogether so far in the storm, all the places put together, we’ve had 18 fatalities citywide as a result of this storm,” he said.
Welcome to the Florida of Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.
State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who had originally conceded the race against Congressman Charlie Rangel last Tuesday, clearly isn’t ready to go there just yet. At a packed press conference held in front of a senior center on 187th Street, Mr. Espaillat slammed the Board of Elections, lobbed allegations of voter suppression, and explained his plans going forward.
“Mayor Bloomberg said a couple days ago that this electoral process is easily corruptible, that, in fact, the Board of Elections is a board that the average New Yorker cannot trust,” Mr. Espaillat declared. “I agree with him.”
Republican David Storobin is currently on track to become a New York State Senator in the epic, never-ending special election to replace corrupt Senator — and future inmate — Carl Kruger. The votes, cast March 20th, have all been counted, but an automatic hand recount of all 20,000 ballots was triggered due to the closeness of the end count — a lead by Mr. Storobin of 27 votes.
“So, they are 10% through with the first ever re canvass of paper ballots from the scanners,” the Democratic candidate, Lew Fidler, wrote on Facebook last night, noting, however, that there is still some hope as the new voting machines did show variances with the original count even though the net margin did not change.
The March 20th special election for the State Senate in southeastern Brooklyn just got one big step closer to a resolution earlier today when over a hundred ballots that were alleged to be fraudulent by the Democratic candidate, Lew Fidler, were counted after a judge dismissed his lawsuit last week. The Republican candidate, David Storobin, is now 27 votes ahead.
a very special election
As the first day of counting absentee votes in last week’s special election to replace corrupt former State Senator Carl Kruger came to a close this evening, Republican candidate David Storobin led Democratic Lew Fidler by just 37 votes, a source familiar with the situation told The Politicker.
When the process convened for a lunch break earlier this afternoon, Mr. Storobin’s lead had dropped from his Election Day total of 119 to 62.
Only 296 votes have been counted, about half of the 757 valid absentee votes when one takes into account that some valid votes were contested and placed aside for the moment. Additionally, hundreds more ballots initially ruled to be invalid are out there for both campaigns to contest, some of which are likely to be brought back into play.