Election Day: 2013apalooza
A confident Bill de Blasio brushed off suggestions that the Democratic nomination is in limbo, telling reporters this afternoon that he’s moving full steam ahead, regardless of the final outcome of the mayoral race’s count.
“I don’t feel like I’m in limbo,” declared Mr. de Blasio, speaking to reporters at a lively rally in Brooklyn celebrating a judge’s ruling to keep Long Island College Hospital open indefinitely, to supporters’ enthusiastic applause.
“Can I ask the audience, ‘Do I look like a guy in limbo?’” he asked them.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio–a once obscure public official with a name few at first could pronounce–declared victory tonight, and now stands on the cusp of winning the Democratic nomination for mayor without a runoff.
The latest returns put Mr. de Blasio at slightly over 40 percent of the vote–a feat once deemed all-but-impossible in a crowded field of five candidates.
Members of the Broadway Democrats, one of the Upper West Side’s most influential political clubs, are at odds over their endorsement of John Liu for mayor.
The club’s endorsements process spun into minor chaos late last night when members were forced to complete their counting in the club’s president’s home. Then, early this morning, a member realized the club had miscounted the ballots because of a misinterpretation of the club’s run-off procedures–forcing a re-count that gave the city’s comptroller a victory.
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.
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.
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.
rock the vote
As New Yorkers crowd into long lines, waiting for the right to vote at polling sites that may or may not have functional machines to tally the votes, Mayor Michael Bloomberg held another press conference to update the city on its recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. While addressing the storm, Mr. Bloomberg, who has criticized the local Board of Elections in the past, did not hold back in his frustration with the issues at the polls today.
“People all around the world would like to have our freedoms and to keep them and extend them, we have to exercise them. I know many people, including myself, are encountering lines at the polls. Be patient, it’s worth the wait,” he said. “From the reports that we’ve gotten, the Board of Elections has run into problems, including late delivery of machines to some sites and late openings. Also, this morning, we learned the Board failed to secure enough fuel for generators at least one poll site; we became aware of it and the Department of Education did deliver fuel to that polling site….If these were the only problems the Board of Elections encountered today, we should consider ourselves very lucky. But, unfortunately, based on its history, that is not likely to be the case.”
“We have some other type of crisis here, partially organized by Hurricane Sandy, partially organized by the Board of Elections,” Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny told Politicker this morning, ticking off poll sites that did not receive machines until 8:04 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. respectively, over an hour after they were scheduled to open. “My question is, if they knew, if the Board of Elections knew yesterday this was the poll site that would be assigned today, were they sleeping this morning? It disenfranchises many people.”
We asked if there might be a possibility of a re-do election.
“That is a possibility, I think,” he answered, noting all of the Hurricane Sandy-induced chaos was in the Democratic parts of his district. “I have two parts of the district. Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, which is conservative, and Coney Island and Sea Gate, which is much more liberal, and I’m a Democrat….This is all becoming totally ridiculous. This is not about me, of course. This is about 40,000 voters losing the right to vote.”
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.
State Senator Adriano Espaillat certainly can’t be be accused of sitting down after his reported loss to veteran Rep. Charlie Rangel in last Tuesday’s Democratic primary. As Mr. Rangel’s lead whittled down to just 802 votes over the weekend, the Espaillat campaign hired election law guru Marty Connor and promoted a hotline available for voters to register complaints about Election Day shenanigans. A State Supreme Court will hear an injunction request from Mr. Espaillat today and the Board of Elections will start counting more than 2,000 affidavit ballots Thursday morning.
“As the New York State Supreme Court considers the serious voting-access and counting issues in the 13th Congressional District election, we are pleased to welcome Marty Connor to lead our legal team,” Mr. Espaillat’s spokesman, Ibrahim Khan, said in a press release. “Our campaign will continue to push for every vote to be counted in a transparent and democratic process.”