Rock You Like a Hurricane
Congressman Pete King was not pleased with his fellow Republicans who opposed the federal Hurricane Sandy relief package. Accordingly, Mr. King told us he was shocked to learn that Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who’s widely seen as a potential 2016 presidential contender, has been raising cash on Wall Street after voting against the Sandy bill.
“Being from New York we’re not supposed to be suckers,” Mr. King told Politicker this morning. “It’s bad enough that these guys voted against it, that’s inexcusable enough. But to have the balls to come in and say, ‘We screwed you now make us president?’”
Donovan Richards declared victory today in the Queens special election to replace his mentor, former Councilman James Sanders, putting to rest fears that the election’s outcome would be unknown for weeks or even months in what had become a racially-charged contest.
With all absentee and affidavit votes counted, Mr. Richards padded his razor-thin 26-vote Election Day margin with another 133 votes, while his main competitor, Pesach Osina, only gathered an additional 80. This brought the unofficial tally to 2,646 for Mr. Richards and 2,567 for Mr. Osina, a wide enough margin to avoid an automatic recount. The results will be certified next week.
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.
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.
Earlier this afternoon, “a group of irate Orthodox community leaders” held a conference call to protest poll site changes implemented in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens. In the call, local Jewish leaders alleged their new voting location was designed to dampen turnout in their ideologically conservative community as it struggles to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.
“We’re a group of people who really, really suffered tremendously,” Richard Altabe, a board member of the Far Rockaway Jewish Alliance, said. “Or voting rights are about to be taken away from us. It’s going to be difficult enough to get people to vote….Our ability to speak and have our voices heard is going to be squashed by circumstances. I’m really, really horrified.”
New York City Board of Elections Commissioner J.C. Polanco isn’t happy that State Senator Adriano Espaillat and newspaper editorials are bashing the agency’s ballot-counting operation after last Tuesday’s vote. On Inside City Hall last night, Mr. Palanco simply unloaded on all of them, calling allegations that they may have tilted the process towards Mr. Espaillat’s rival, Rep. Charlie Rangel, “vicious,” “malicious,” “false,” “terrible” and more.
“When we allow for the editorials in New York City to tell our story, when we allow for columnists and other individuals and elected officials who honestly are doing a disservice to their community by not understanding election law, … [to be] going out there and blasting the hardworking men and women at the Board of Elections, we think it’s appalling,” he argued.
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.