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Citizens Union

Gotham Votes 2013

Board of Elections Counting Process At Heart of Thompson Concession


The City Board of Elections’ status reclaimed its place as the political punching bag of choice today when former Democratic mayoral nominee Bill Thompson accused the board of making its final count of the votes too slowly.

Currently in the middle of certifying the results of last week’s primary, the Board expects to sift through the 67,000 valid absentee and affidavit ballots till Friday.

“Today, almost a week after the primary, we still don’t know the outcome of the election,” Thompson said even as he conceded to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

The board’s Executive Director Michael Ryan, however, argued that the body is not to blame for any campaign’s ills or strategies, and that the count was exactly where the board anticipated it would be long before.

“We’re exactly where we expected to start right before election day,” Ryan said, adding that New York State election law dictates that the board does not start counting the affidavit ballots until the Monday following election day.

Read more: Board of Elections Counting Process At Heart of Thompson Concession

Thompson Concedes to de Blasio as Cuomo Calls for Party Unity


Less than a month ago, Bill Thompson called Bill de Blasio “Bill de Bliar” for being disingenuous about the public advocate’s record on term limits and positions on stop-and-frisk.

This morning, the two raised grasped hands with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in front of City Hall as Thompson bowed out of the heated race to become the Democratic nominee for mayor.

“Today, I’m proud to stand next to a great New Yorker and throw my full support behind him,” Thompson said as he pointed to de Blasio and asked his own supporters to do the same.

He said that de Blasio would carry forward a progressive vision to City Hall.

“Bill de Blasio and I want to move our city forward in the same direction,” Thompson said. “We share the fundamental same views and values. This is bigger than either one of us.”

Read more: Thompson Concedes to de Blasio as Cuomo Calls for Party Unity

Cuomo Enters Mayoral Race as Thompson Drops


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"Does Cuomo make a call to Thompson and suggest he backs off to protect de Blasio?" asked Doug Muzzio, Baruch professor of political science, on Wednesday morning as Bill de Blasio celebrated his first-place finish in the Democratic mayoral primary while Bill Thompson's campaign struggled to deal with the fact that he couldn't be sure whether de Blasio had netted the 40 percent of the vote he needed to avoid a runoff. 

Today we might have an answer of sorts to Muzzio's question. Although we don't know the dealings behind it--Thompson, de Blasio and Cuomo all gathered at the steps of city hall today. Thompson conceded, de Blasio thanked him, introduced Cuomo and Cuomo endorsed de Blasio. "Bill is going to lead this city in the great, progressive Democratic traditions," Cuomo said of his long-time friend. Cuomo told reporters Thompson's decision to concede the race was his own. 

It seemed otherworldy for one reason--Cuomo has avoided the mayoral race all year. Cuomo was loathe to discuss Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer's bid for comptroller or to get involved in the policy sparring that took place.

Read more: Cuomo Enters Mayoral Race as Thompson Drops 

3 City Council Races Still Undecided


NEW YORK — The mayoral race isn't the only one shrouded in doubt after Tuesday's primary elections: Three City Council contests have yet to be called.

The Associated Press has yet to name a winner in the areas represented by City Council districts 19, 27 and 36, because they are too close to call. Those districts cover parts of north and southeastern Queens, as well as the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights sections of Brooklyn.

Read more: 3 City Council Races Still Undecided

Election Results: More City Council Races


Here are more of the city council races that have been called with data from WNYC/AP: 

1st District: Margaret Chin, with 58 percent of the vote. 

6th District: Helen Rosenthal, with 27 percent of the vote.

7th District: Mark Levine, with 41 percent of the vote. 

8th District:  Melissa Mark-Viverito, with 35 percent of the vote. 

11th District: Andrew Cohen, with 67 percent of the vote. 

12th District: Andy King, with 57 percent of the vote. 

15th District: Ritchie Torres, with 36 percent of the vote. 

16th District: Vanessa Gibson, with 44 percent of the vote. 

22nd District: Costa Constantinides, with 55 percent of the vote. 

28th District: Ruben wills, with 48 percent of the vote. 

31st District: Donovan Richards, with 51 percent of the vote. 

32nd District: Lew Simon, with 65 percent of the vote. 

37th District: Rafael Espinal, with 46 percent of the vote. 

40th District: Mathieu Eugene, with 48 percent of the vote. 

42nd DistrictL Inez Barron, with 43 percent of the vote. 

46th District: Alan Maisel, with 59 percent of the vote. 

47th District: Mark Treyger, with 45 percent of the vote. 

 

 

 

Albany Exodus Is Largely A Success


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We wrote last last month that a handful of state legislators had determined that it was a good year for them to get out of Albany.

Although former Assemblyman Vito Lopez and current Assemblyman Micah Kellner could not escape sexual harassment allegations and lost their Council bids, the rest of the field of state legislators secured their exit out of a city haunted by corruption while also securing a bump in their pay.

Assembly members Rafael Espinal, Vanessa Gibson, Inez Barron, and former Assemblyman Rory Lancman all won their primary races. Sen. Daniel Squadron will be in the runoff for the office of public advocate and Sen. Eric Adams won an uncontested primary for Brooklyn borough president and faces no opponent in the general. Sen. Tony Avella, who dropped his bid for Queens borough president, still managed to garner more than 10,000 votes. 

Political observers had said that a number of legislators were looking to escape the scandal-scarred Legislature and the drudgery of being a rank-and-file member with little power.

But Gerald Benjamin, professor of political science at SUNY-New Paltz told the Gazette it wasn't clear that they will find more power in city positions.

"The key issue is the individual's reason for seeking office in the first place. Status? Power? Paycheck? Stepping stone?" Benjamin said. "There is little real power in New York City office outside the mayoralty or the comptrollership, while there is real power in the state Legislature." 

Barron and Espinal are both hoping to pull switcheroos with their allies who are currently serving on the Council. Charles Barron has declared his intent to run for his wife's Assembly seat and Erik Dilan is expected to run for the seat of Espinal, his former employee. 

Thompson Vows 3 More Weeks As He Refuses To Concede


Three more weeks. That was the message that supporters of Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson were left with as poll numbers kept trickling in on primary night.

Despite his main rival for the nomination, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, teetering around 40 percent, Thompson and his supporters left the campaign's election night party fully confident that the former comptroller would have more time to sell Democratic voters on his vision for New York.

Read more: Thompson Vows 3 More Weeks As He Refuses To Concede

Recount Likely In Race For Bronx Assembly Seat


The race to replace Assemblyman Nelson Castro in the Bronx’s 86th Assembly District will likely come down to a recount with newcomer Victor Pichardo and former district leader Hector Ramirez with unofficial tallies showing both candidates hovering at about 22 percent of the vote.

As of last check early Wednesday, Pichardo led by a 53-vote margin. Ramirez’s success was a surprise to many observers who saw the candidate as an also-ran. Pichardo enjoyed the backing of Rep. Chuck Schumer, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Sen. Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman Carl Heastie. Ramirez mostly had name recognition and community support.

Yudelka Tapia had a much larger presence and campaign structure than Ramirez but managed about 19 percent of the vote. Tapia owes the Campaign Finance Board around $107,000 in fines and repayments. 

Sen Gustavo Rivera, a friend, former employer and supporter of Pichardo, said that he was confident Pichardo would be headed to Albany when all the votes are counted.

“I told the crowd tonight that when someone wins an election by 30 percent, individual effort really didn’t matter," Rivera continued. "But when it comes down to race like this where someone wins by 30 votes, individual effort really shows through. It could have been that phone call, the flyer you handed out, that conversation you had with a voter.”

Vito Lopez Ally Wins His Old Assembly Seat


Former Assemblyman Vito Lopez was chased out of Albany after being accused of sexually harassing four of his young female staffers — seeking the relative satefy of a Brooklyn City Council seat. But his bid fell short.

And, yet, Lopez was able to keep his claws on his old 53rd State Assembly District seat as Maritza Davila, a Lopez ally and former employee of the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizen Center founded by Lopez, defeated her two opponents by a large margin in the Democratic primary.

Reform candidate Jason Otano failed for a second time to successfully challenge Lopez’s machine. Otano lost a bid against Dilan last year. The aspirant had the support of a number of reform groups and had a major fundraising advantage. 

Campaign Trail Update: Borough Race Results


Here are unofficial results reported by The Associated Press for key borough-wide races:

Former federal prosecutor Ken Thompson won the Democratic primary for Brooklyn district attorney against six-term incumbent Charles Hynes. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Thompson had 55.42 percent of the vote.

Former City Councilwoman Melinda Katz won the Democratic primary for Queens borough president with 44.45 percent of the vote; coming in second was City Councilman Peter Vallone, with 33.69 percent. Katz will face Republican Aurelio Tony Arcabascio in the general election

Term-limited Councilwoman Gale Brewer beat out three other candidates to win the Democratic primary for Manhattan borough president with 39.66 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Ruben Diaz handily won the Democratic primary for Bronx borough president.

A Runoff In the Public Advocate Race


Two candidates in the race for the Democratic primary for the office of public advocate, Letitia James and Daniel Squadron, will have to face off in a runoff election on Oct. 1.

Neither of the top two candidates got enough of the votes to win outright. The Associated Press was reporting that James, a Councilwoman from Brooklyn, had about 34 percent of the vote with 97 percent of precincts reporting as of 12:34 a.m. Squadron, a three-term state senator, had about 33 percent of the vote.

Three other candidates split the rest of the vote.

The little-known office of public advocate serves as an ombudsman and is second in line to the mayor.



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