On Tuesday, September 10 New Yorkers took to the polls to decide who will be on the November 5 general election ballot. The results were mixed with some elections still undecided.
The popular race for Mayor hung in the balance for the Democrats as almost 80,000 ballots had yet to be counted the day after the primary. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio received the necessary 40 percent to avoid a runoff, but former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson was confident that the counting of those outstanding ballots would change the primary outcome. He was stalwart in his decision to stick it out, even though party supporters were urging him to concede. Almost a week later, Thompson bowed out and the General Election campaign is on.
Joe Lhota, winner of the Republican primary, had his own excitement on primary day. It started early when his lever voter machine, circa 1960, malfunctioned and he himself had to complete a paper ballot. But, he had more of a race on his hands with supermarket tycoon John Catsimatidis hot on his heels for the Republican spot. “Cats” came close, but not close enough. “Cats” has vowed to stay in politics, so we will see what’s next for him.
Lhota and de Blasio will now enter a three-way race with Adolfo Carrion, running on the Independent line, to see who will be the next Mayor of New York City. New Yorkers haven’t elected a Democratic Mayor since David Dinkins, so the race will be closely watched.
Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President, walked away with the City Comptroller nod, beating out former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Stringer will now face Republican John Burnett in the General Election – a City Hall outsider – not known in many political circles.
And if you thought we’d avoided a runoff – think again! Not for Mayor like many anticipated, but for Public Advocate. State Senator Daniel Squadron came up in the polls to put the pressure on Council Member Letitia James, forcing the costly runoff. Turnout will most likely be down since neither Squadron nor James can pull voters from the Mayoral runoff. Both will work hard to get out the vote and we will see who the victor is on October 1.
The Borough President races were fairly quiet. State Senator Eric Adams ran unopposed in Brooklyn and cruised to a victory. Ruben Diaz, Jr. the incumbent in the Bronx captured over 80 percent of the vote. In Manhattan it was a four-way race with City Council Member Gale Brewer prevailing. Melinda Katz beat out Peter Vallone in Queens to clinch her spot on November 5. On Staten Island both the Democratic and Republican candidates, Louis Liedy and Jimmy Oddo respectively, ran unopposed and will meet other party candidates in the general election.
There were a few upsets in some of the City Council races citywide. Longtime Brooklyn democratic leader Vito Lopez lost to newcomer Antonio Reynoso and former Quinn staffer, Carlos Menchaca, beat out incumbent Sara Gonzalez for her long-held seat in Red Hook. Both ran exciting campaigns and it seems like the winds of Fall are bringing change to 250 Broadway.
Now it is onto November 5. There is still time to register if you haven’t already. Registration is open and ends on October 11. So register TODAY if you haven’t already and make sure your staff and clients are registered as well.
If the human services sector can impact the number of registered voters, we have the ability to ensure the interests of the nonprofit sector are a central part of the election debates. The nonprofit sector is directly affected by government decisions. When the government releases a proposed budget, it is essential that cuts aren’t made to critical human services. Who we elect to represent our communities can make the difference! It is our collective responsibility to remind government how important human services are to our communities. Be engaged! Register today and don’t forget to vote on November 5, and October 1!
Contributed by Shana Mosher of the Human Services Council.