By Sabina Mollot
After a citywide general election that proved to be hotly contested in local City Council races but somewhat lackluster in the mayoral department, the results were in on Tuesday night, with all sought after positions remaining solidly Democrat.
Based on unofficial results provided by the New York City Board of Elections, Keith Powers and Carlina Rivera will be the next City Council members, replacing the term-limited Dan Garodnick and Rosie Mendez, respectively.
Democrat Rivera won with wide margins in District 2, receiving 82.86 percent of the vote. Republican and Rent is 2 Damn High Party’s Jimmy McMillan got 11.58 percent of the vote. Liberal Party’s Jasmin Sanchez got 2.02 percent. Libertarian Party’s Don Garrity got 1.73 percent. Green Party’s Manny Cavaco got 1.56 percent. There were also 59 write-ins (0.26 percent) out of 23,047 people voting in the race.
Democrat Powers also won easily with 57.09 percent of the vote in District 4. Republican Rebecca Harary came in second with 30.75 percent. The tally also includes votes for the candidate through the other lines she ran on, Women’s Equality, Reform and Stop de Blasio. Liberal Party’s Rachel Honig got 12.06 percent. There were also 26 write-ins (0.1 percent) out of 27,511 people voting.
Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, as was widely predicted, got Daniel Squadron’s abandoned downtown Senate seat, receiving 84.86 percent of the vote. Republican candidate Analicia Alexander got 14.68 percent. This means Kavanagh’s District 74 Assembly seat, which includes Stuyvesant Town and Waterside, is now vacant. A few local Democrats have already expressed interest.
Mayor de Blasio sailed to re-election with 66.16 percent of the vote. His closest competitor proved to be Republican Nicole Malliotakis with 27.67 percent. Those on alternative party lines fared miserably with single digit percentages of the votes or worse. The Reform Party’s Sal Albanese got 2.09 percent, Green Party’s Akeem Browder got 1.44 percent, Smart Cities Party’s Michael Tolkin got 0.98 percent, Dump the Mayor Party’s Bo Dietl got 0.96 percent and Libertarian Aaron Commey got 0.24 percent. Write-in candidates accounted for 0.46 percent. De Blasio got 13,443 votes in Assembly District 74 alone. This appeared to be average for Manhattan polling places.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer also clobbered her competitors, who ran minimal campaigns, with the Democrat incumbent getting 83.21 percent. Republican Frank Scala took second place with 11.94 percent, The Green Party’s Daniel Vila Rivera got 2.93 percent and Reform and Libertarian Parties’ Brian Waddell (who was running to eliminate the position of borough president) came in last place with 1.82 percent. Write-ins accounted for 0.11 percent.
Voters also overwhelmingly said no to a Constitutional Convention (78.60 percent). They said yes to a second proposal to force public officials to forfeit their pensions when convicted of a felony (64.11 percent), and no on a third proposal to authorize use of preserved forest land for specified purposes (54.80 percent).
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a Town & Village reporter spoke with voters on the street about their choices, including in Peter Cooper Village, where Powers, a resident, appeared to have locked in much of the vote by 11 a.m.
One married couple, Anne Kelley and Rich Scolnik, gave their support to Powers, though not to the mayor, and they voted no on whether there should be a Constitutional Convention.
Explaining their choices, Kelley said, “We voted because it’s important to do. People came out in wheelchairs, a ton of them.” Scolnik picked Powers because he was endorsed by Garodnick. Kelley added, “I think he will be effective for us here in this community. He was the establishment person and maybe that’s not a completely good thing, but I think he will be good.” That said she also said Honig “campaigned very effectively.”
They decided not to pick a particular candidate for mayor though. “I left it blank,” Scolnik said. “I couldn’t bring myself to vote for him but I didn’t vote for anyone else,” Kelley said.
De Blasio had a bigger fan in Stuy Town resident Pam, who didn’t want to give her last name. “I like the things he’s doing with pre-school,” she said. However, not being a citizen, she couldn’t vote, instead waiting outside the polling place at 360 First Avenue for a friend. After voting, the other woman apologized for the wait due to long lines.
That friend, Nikki, said she voted for Powers “because he’s local” and de Blasio, saying he’s done a “really good job” and “he seems really New York.”
Retired teacher Martin Ballon said he voted straight down the Democrat line, although he felt uneasy about the fact that his union, which had suggested members vote for certain candidates, didn’t give him information about everyone on the ballot. “I voted for de Blasio, I voted for Gale Brewer and a couple of people I can’t remember,” he said.
In Stuyvesant Town, Geraldine Levy said she gave her Council vote to Honig. “She’s new and she’s very fresh. I mostly voted for her because I don’t like Keith Powers’ background. He’s been a lobbyist and I talked to Rachel a few times and I was very impressed,” Levy said.
She added she voted yes on the Con-Con, “because I like the organizations that are backing it and I trust them.” As for mayor, “I did not vote for de Blasio. I think he’s been a big disappointment about housing and there are a lot of questions he hasn’t answered about his fundraising.”
Stuyvesant Town Republican Diane Leech said she voted for Malliotakis for mayor as well as Harary, who she also campaigned for, for Council.
Leech, a retiree from the world of publishing, said of the Upper East Side Council candidate, “I love her. She’s honest. She’s straight, and I don’t mean in terms of her sexuality. I don’t care if she’s gay, which she’s not. She’s straight. She reminds me of Dan Garodnick, who I happen to like even though he’s a Democrat. He gets things done and I like people who get things done.”
As for her choice for mayor, it appeared to be motivated more by hatred for the incumbent.
“I do not want four more years of corruption and the system that’s in place now with pay-for-play,” Leech said. “I’m disgusted with de Blasio. I’m getting forced out, all the seniors are.” However, she added, this wasn’t about the rent being too high, but because of quality of life issues. “A man peed right in front of me the other day, which is not unusual,” said Leech. “I’m disgusted with the way (de Blasio) treats police and that Council and all the corrupt people he surrounds himself with. He pimped out his wife, he pimped out his son, he pimped out his daughter. I have no use for him.”
At a polling place at Baruch College on East 22nd Street, Gramercy resident Nancy Leib said she has always voted, including small elections, since she was old enough to do so. She voted straight down the Democrat line this time, except for district attorney, leaving that one blank. On her other choices, she explained, “I will never vote for another Republican as long as I live.” She added that no City Council member however stood out to her.
As for mayor, “I think de Blasio’s doing a pretty good job with (universal) pre-k,” Leib, a retired teacher, said. “To me that’s one of the most important things.” On the Con-Con, she was “very much opposed.”
Also voting at that site was Louise Dankberg, district leader for the 74th Assembly District with the Tilden Democratic Club and Samuel Alpert, vice president of the Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats Club. Both noted that voter turnout seemed high, by 11:30 a.m. more so than the primary, at least judging from the number of votes logged at the machine Alpert voted at (150). Both clubs had endorsed De Blasio for mayor and Powers and Rivera for Council. However, Alpert noted that when doing petitioning, some people wouldn’t even sign the documents so candidates could run because de Blasio’s name was on them, and those people were Democrats. On this, he guessed that some people “don’t understand the process,” and that signing a petition for a candidate isn’t necessarily a commitment to vote for the person. But despite a lighting round of recent headlines surrounding de Blasio and a donor who’s accused him of pay-to-play politics, Dankberg said she didn’t think this would affect voter turnout.
“I think people who are determined to vote will come out and vote their conscience,” she said.
UPDATE: Following the election, Powers told T&V he was ready to get to work.
“I am excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work for the people of the 4th Council District,” said Powers, in a written statement. “For over a year, I’ve connected with East Siders, from Stuyvesant Town to the Upper East Side. I want to deeply thank them for their support and I look forward to working with them to vigorously advocate for the new ideas this campaign was built on.”
Rivera also issued the following statement:
“It’s a tremendous honor to receive the support of so many friends and neighbors throughout this election,” she said. “I was born and raised on the East Side and have dedicated my life to making our community a better place. As our Council member-elect, I will continue to work every day to ensure that every family has the resources they need and a representative they can count on.”