By Sabina Mollot
On Tuesday, 23-year incumbent Carolyn Maloney easily won the Congressional Primary with over 89 percent of the vote.
Maloney’s Democratic opponent, Peter Lindner, got 9.55 percent of the vote or 1,435 votes with 1.32 percent of the voters, a total of 198, opting for write-in candidates. Maloney got exactly 89.13 or 13,389 votes.
The numbers came from the Board of Elections’ unofficial results made available from 99 percent of the scanners. In the 12th Congressional District, which includes much of Manhattan’s East Side and parts of Queens and Brooklyn, 15,022 registered Democrats came out to vote on what Maloney and poll workers Town & Village spoke with said seemed to be a typically low primary turnout.
Walking around Stuyvesant Town on Tuesday afternoon, T&V’s reporter only ran into people who said they’d be casting their vote for Maloney or wouldn’t say who they were voting for. One person though said he thought Lindner seemed promising.
Stuyvesant Town resident Steven Newman said he recently met Lindner as he campaigned in the neighborhood.
“I think he’s a promising candidate but I don’t think he should start as Congress. I think he should start as City Council or something,” said Newman.
He added that he always votes, never missing an election. “I force myself to vote and never to abstain.” When asked if this meant he’d be voting for Maloney, he said, “Yes, I suppose I am.”
Maloney meanwhile hit up several parts of her district during the day, going from the Upper East Side, where she lives, to Astoria, Queens, to Greenpoint, Brooklyn to Stuyvesant Town.
While in Stuy Town, she asked passersby for their support at the polls, getting reactions that ranged from complete disinterest from people whizzing by to very enthusiastic voters running up to her to say they’d be voting for her. One Stuy Town resident, Bill Oddo, stopped his car in the 20th Street Loop to shake her hand and pledge his vote. There was also some mild interest from others. “Maybe I’ll vote but not today,” said one man while another promised, “I’ll look into it.” At the community center, a group of men barely looked up from their chess game after Maloney stopped in to say hello.
While standing for a while outside Stuy Town’s Hane sushi restaurant, Maloney said she’d noticed a lot of people were unaware there was a primary going on. But there also seemed to be politically conscious people out as well. One was Tilden Democratic Club member Alicia Zanelli, who wore a Maloney pin on her blouse on her way to vote.
“Not even after her husband died did she stop working. She is still working hard for us,” Zanelli said of Maloney. “You have any doubts? She has slept in Congress. That’s why I vote for her. Not just because she’s a Democrat.”
A Housing Court judge, Tom Fitzpatrick, told Town & Village he was on his way to vote but said he wasn’t allowed to share who it would be for. He did say that the issues most important to him were “war and peace.”
Meanwhile, Maloney was eventually joined as she campaigned by State Senator Brad Hoylman. Both lawmakers complained that having three primaries, presidential, Congressional and state legislature, in one year was a waste of money and led to low voter turnout.
Hoylman said that he had tried to convince his colleagues in the Senate to consolidate the primaries, but they’ve resisted. One reason he was given is that certain times of the year, in some parts of the state it’s too cold to go petitioning. But, argued Hoylman, “It’s confusing to voters and it wastes taxpayer dollars. It’s not good for our local democratic process.”
Lindner also was out looking for votes in Stuy Town on Tuesday but later said few people were out at that time.
When asked for a comment on the race, Lindner said he’d be trying again in the future when the seat is vacated. He also said he couldn’t believe he and Maloney were the only ones the ballot.
In an email, he stated, “I want to thank Carolyn Maloney for conducting a fair campaign and wish her well in the general election in November.”
He added that he was impressed with the publications that covered the race, including this one, though disappointed in a couple of Queens publications that endorsed Maloney without calling him. He also felt that though he did have some volunteers and paid help, he may have spread himself too thin by attempting to do too many things like writing his own campaign copy and doing the graphics as well as handling the finances.
Still, Lindner stated that running, “was a great experience. I met a lot of people, some cool people, some reflective, some really sad people who are troubled about legalizing marijuana for who knows what reasons, some cynics who doubted almost everything I said, and people who couldn’t care about voting at all. I know it’s not realistic for me to change ‘the world’ or the USA or NYC, but I think some changes can be made.”
The candidate, a political newcomer and Union Square resident, had run on a platform of using technology to make the government more user friendly, gun safety and legalization of marijuana and prostitution.
He’d told T&V during an interview in April that he’d gotten into the race after being unhappy with Maloney as a constituent when he asked her to look into what he felt were corrupt actions on the part of an official. Instead, he said, one of Maloney’s staffers threatened to call the Capitol police on Lindner, when he later inquired about the status of his request. Maloney has declined to comment on this.
Meanwhile, a Republican named Robert Ardini has announced that he’ll be running against Maloney in November and has set up a campaign website. On it, he notes that top issues for him are national debt and government gridlock.