Writing Off the Write-Ins
After every election, I generally do a few columns about what the results show, trying to find the stories others missed .
As a result, in December, 2010, I was perhaps the only person in NYC who noticed how weakly Anthony Weiner and other Democrats had performed among Orthodox and Russian Jews.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Sadly, this year’s primary results make for slim pickens. This year, Sheepshead Bites beat me at my own game, and came up with perhaps the most overrated story of this year’s primary and special election season: Tony Weiner’s 31 wrote-in votes in the special election for Congress.
Although many reporters handled this story with tongue placed firmly in cheek (under the circumstances, perhaps not the best choice of words), there was an implicit subtext in much of the coverage that this was either proof of Weiner's vindication by his constituents, or some significant indication of voter dissatisfaction with their choices.
Let’s review this.
71,226 votes were cast in this election. The Troskyite got 143 of them. 47 names not on the ballot got a total of 54 votes between them, and Weiner got 31. That is 0.04% of the vote. This is not impressive.
More impressive? Several articles, as well as anecdotal evidence, indicate that the campaigns for Bob Turner in the Orthodox and the Russian press were so intense that voters from outside the 9th Congressional District experienced great frustration when they could not vote for him.
The election results indicate this as well.
Counting variations obviously intended as votes for him, Turner got 28 votes to be the Democratic candidate for Kings County Civil Court Judge; 28 votes for State Assembly in the 23rd AD, 4 in the 27th AD (I’m not counting 3 votes for David Turner, since these may be a joke), and 1 in the 54th AD. He also got votes for Male Republican State Committee Member: 3 in the 25th AD, 2 in the 30th AD, 1 in the 35th AD, 3 in the 45th AD and 1 in the 49th. Finally, he got 2 votes for Female GOP State Committee positions—one each in the 25th and 30th. (By contrast, David Weprin got 16 votes for Judge, and one vote each for Assembly in the 23rd, 27th and 54th).
Russian voter can be particularly intent about such things. In 2000, an effort in the Russian community to write in Alec Brook-Krasny’s name after he’d been knocked off the primary ballot in the 46th AD led to his receiving 1495 votes (the Republican got 1186), but the real impressive showing was the 956 voters in the neighboring 45th AD who wrote in Brook-Krasny’s name as well.
In addition to the Turner votes, Russian voters were also likely responsible for the votes cast for 45th AD Republican State Committee Boris Pincus member for judge, and Male State Committee member in the 49th, as well as 1 vote for Female State Committee Member in the 25th.
Also more impressive than Weiner’s showing were the 42 votes cast for Civil Court Judge for Jesus Gonzalez, as well as the 26 for Rafael Espinal and the 16 for Deidra Towns.
But perhaps the most impressive write in vote was in the 49th AD. While 71,226 votes were cast in the 9th CD, with Weiner getting 31, only 635 votes were cast for Male GOP State Committee Member in the 49th.
Yet Peter Cipriano, a 21 year old former Assembly candidate who left the State Committee race under what appears to have been some duress, got 80 write in votes for the job, more than double what Weiner got in a race in a far larger Congressional District race open to all voters, receiving almost 13% of the votes cast.
Outside of that, the only real interesting results not apparent on Election Day were in the Kings Civil Court race.
As expected, black areas went for Sharren Hudson against Cheryl Gonzales, another black woman with a decidedly less identifiably back name.
Less predictably, the elevated white turnout in Southern Brooklyn also inured to Hudson’s benefit, apparently thanks to strong support by the ostensibly neutral County Democratic Organization.
Gonzales’ Latino sounding name did the trick for her in the elevated turnout enhanced 54th AD, as well as in Vito Lopez’s 53rd, even though the strong pro-Lopez forces in both ADs were backing Hudson. H
udson carried the third Latino AD, the 51st, as well, but apparently did so on the strength of a targeted pull in the mostly black Red Hook Houses, while Gonzales carried the Latino areas.
Outside of the Latino areas, Gonzales carried only the Brownstown dominated 44th and 52nd. Not even the much ballyhooed NKD and a decent size Latino votes could win her the 50th, though she came close there.
All in all, those who thought Lopez would have been better off running a Latino this year seem to have been proven wrong.
As I noted earlier this week, Chris Owens hails the near lock by black females on open Civil Court seats, as some sort of victory for Latinos, but the reality is that it is hard for a perceived Latino to win a Countywide race for Civil court, even when that perceived Latino is a non-Latino black woman.
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