Who's who in races around the borough
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Who will win the Democratic Primary for mayor? Will there be a runoff? Will Joe Lhota be able to fend off a challenge from John Catsimatidis in the Republican Primary? Will voters forgive Eliot Spitzer enough to vote for him over Scott Stringer to be the Democratic nominee for comptroller? Who will emerge from among the crowded field to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for public advocate?
The answer to all of these questions will be known by the end of the night on Tuesday, Sept. 10 when the results of the Democratic and Republican primaries are in.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle would like to present to our readers a handy voter guide with everything readers will need to know on primary day.
But first things first: the polls open at 6 a.m. and will remain open until 9 p.m. You must be a registered member of a particular party to vote in that party’s primary. And don’t expect the computerized voting system that has been in place for a couple of years and that New Yorkers were just starting to get used to. Instead, the old pull lever voting machines are back, just for this primary.
In the race for mayor, Democrats will go to the polls wondering if there will be a clear cut winner or if there will be a runoff on Oct. 1.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, according to the polls, appeared poised to win it all. The Wall Street Journal reported on its website that de Blasio had 36 percent of the vote. But the outcome of the primary was far from certain. A candidate must get at least 40 percent of the vote in order to win the primary. If no one captures at least 40 percent, then a runoff will take place on Oct. 1 between the top two vote getters. The winner of the runoff will be the Democratic candidate for mayor.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former comptroller Bill Thompson were running neck and neck for second place, according to most polls.
A Republican lawmaker told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on Monday morning that most people in the GOP believe Thompson, not de Blasio, would be the most formidable candidate for a Republican candidate to have to go up against in the general election in November. “Thompson seems the most reasonable of that group,” the elected official said.
The other candidates, former congressman Anthony Weiner, who at one time was leading in the polls, Comptroller John Liu, former Bay Ridge councilman Sal Albanese, and Erick Salgado, a church pastor in Bensonhurst, were busy all day Monday, each making a last ditch effort to win supporters.
On the Republican side of the fence, Joe Lhota, a former deputy mayor and former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman, appeared to have a comfortable lead in the polls over his rival, billionaire political newcomer John Catsimatidis, going into the primary. But Catsimatidis, the founder of the Gristedes supermarket chain, signaled that he wasn’t ready to concede anything.
The third candidate George McDonald, founder of the Doe Fund, a non-profit organization that helps homeless people find jobs, was far behind in the polls as primary day approached.
The primary for city comptroller is playing out like a tale of redemption. Former governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace three years ago after being caught in a prostitution scandal, is trying for a political comeback. Spitzer is running against Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Stringer’s television ads have sought to remind voters of the Spitzer sex scandal. Spitzer has fired back in his ads, charging that Stringer is a political hack.
The crowded field for public advocate includes two current lawmakers, a college professor, a former deputy to Bill de Blasio, and a community liaison for the Police Department.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights-DUMBO-lower Manhattan) and Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Fort Greene-Clinton Hill) are looking to change jobs. Another candidate, political newcomer Cathy Guerriero, a professor of education and politics at Teachers College at Columbia University, shocked the political establishment in June when she placed a close second to James in the first poll taken in the race.
Squadron, James and Guerriero all have close ties to Brooklyn. Squadron and James live here and represent parts of the borough. Guerriero grew up in Gravesend.
Reshma Saujani, former deputy public advocate, is hoping her experience in the office will impress voters. The fifth candidate, Sidique Wai, is president of the United African Congress, and works for the NYPD as an advisor to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Brooklyn Democrats will have to decide if District Attorney Charles Hynes deserves another term in office or if former federal prosecutor Ken Thompson should be the new district attorney.
In council races around the borough: Laurie Cumbo, a businesswoman with a background in the arts, is one of several candidates seeking to succeed James in the 35th Council District. The field in the Democratic Primary also includes Democratic district leader Ola Alabi; Ede Fox, the former chief of staff for Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush), and Jelani Mashariki, the founder of Black Veterans for Social Justice.
With Councilman Domenic Recchia term-limited, a seat is opening up in the 47th Council District (Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst). The race to be the Democratic party’s nominee features Mark Treyger, a high school teacher and political activist; John Lysanskiy, a City Council aide; Todd Dobrin, a Coney Island activist; and Pastor Connis Mobley, a religious and civic leader in Coney Island.
The race to succeed term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson (D-Sheepshead Bay-Brighton Beach) has several candidates running in the Democratic Primary. Chaim Deutsch is an aide to Nelson. Theresa Scavo is chairman of Community Board 15. Igor Obermann is president of the board of directors at Trump Village. Ari Kagan, a journalist, is the Democratic district leader in Sheepshead Bay.
In the 33rd Council District (Williamsburg-Greenpoint) freshman councilman Stephen Levin is seeking to fend off a challenge from Stephen Pierson, founder of an arts-centered after-school program.
Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook) is facing a challenge from Carlos Menchaca in the primary. Gonzalez, who has represented the 38th Council District since 2001, would have the most seniority on the council if she defeats Menchaca in the primary and goes on to win the general election in November.