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.
brooklyn & queens
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.
“I sing your praises, sometimes I get in trouble for doing that but I will continue to do it forever,” Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind told Republican State Senator Dean Skelos on his post-Shabbos radio show late last Saturday night. “I just want to personally thank you for being so amazingly responsive to all of New York State, but to the Jewish community in particular. You are really just a superstar.”
Mr. Skelos, the leader of the New York State Senate and one of the “three men in a room” that control decision-making in Albany, received this high praise for adding yeshiva tuition tax credits into the state budget and his recent work to fund bus service to those same private religious schools. Mr. Hikind is a longtime assemblyman and power broker in the Jewish neighborhoods of southern Brooklyn and, despite being a Democratic Party official, has been more than willing to endorse Republicans.
At the end of last year, Mr. Skelos traveled to the Masbia soup kitchen in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn where, after donning a velvet yarmulke, he chopped carrots, peeled potatoes and ladled kosher soup to the needy. He proceeded to tell a story about smuggling Jewish artifacts into the Soviet Union and joked that his own Greek Orthodox beliefs gave him insight into Orthodox Judaism, letting Yiddish words like tzitzis and shul roll off his tongue all the while. Cameras rolled and mobile phones snapped photos for the Jewish media to consume later, of course.
it won't end
For Republican voters in New York, it’s Election Day today and you have the choice of voting for Mitt Romney for president, or for one of the three other names on the ballot, two of whom are still technically vying for the nomination.
And it’s sentences like the above that has fueled former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino’s latest beef.
“You guys in the press have been beating down any opposition to Romney for months. You started four or five months ago telling us, ‘Romney’s going to win. Romney’s going to win,’ and trying to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he declared on Inside City Hall last night. “That’s wrong!”
After 20,000 votes cast in a state senate special election that took place over a month ago, Republican candidate David Storobin still leads by 3 votes.
The legal teams of Mr. Storobin and his Democratic opponent Lew Fidler met in court earlier this afternoon to continue hashing out their arguments over absentee votes and fraud allegations. And, according to the campaigns, not a lot seems to have happened. One or two dozen more ballots challenged by Mr. Storobin got green-lighted to eventually be counted, which benefits Mr. Fidler, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon.
More ballots were opened for the March 20th State Senate special election this afternoon, and Republican candidate David Storobin doubled his margin … to two votes, multiple tipsters told The Politicker.
The latest gain comes from absentee and provisional ballots where the respective campaigns withdrew their objections. 41 ballots were counted in total, with 21 going to Mr. Storobin and 20 going to his Democratic opponent, Lew Fidler.