Tag Archives: Preet Brarara

Cuomo, Nixon, James, Bharara, Teachout: The Merry-Go-Round of Electoral Politics in New York State

A friend has a weekend house upstate, on Fridays he and his wife race upstate to spend Saturday and Sunday canvassing for a Democratic congressional primary candidate: Gareth Rhodes, a 29 year old graduate of CCNY.  The district is made up of small towns with many rural voters; there are seven candidates vying for the democratic line on the ballot. My friend hesitantly knocked on a door, an American flag flying in the front yard alongside a pickup truck with a gun rack in the cab. The owner smiled, “You thought I was a Trump voter – I was – what a mistake, he’s an embarrassment, I switched my registration.”

Has Trump awakened America?  Has Trump invigorated millennial voters? Will the November 2018 elections end up as a rejection of Trump and his allies?

The June 26th primary will select candidates in districts currently held by Republican Congressman: Will voters select current electeds trying to move up the ladder? Choose young new candidates? Choose more women?

If you live in the primary districts your mailbox is probably overflowing with flyers.

The September 13th primary is electric!!

Four years ago Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University challenged Andrew Cuomo in the primary. A turbulent Working Families Party convention barely endorsed Cuomo, and, in September, the underfunded and virtually unknown Teachout lost; however, 35% of primary voters supported the insurgent.

Four years later a well-recognized actor and parent activist jumped into the gubernatorial race. Cynthia Nixon, a political neophyte, grabbed the attention of voters across the state; it was clear that the Cuomo camp was not prepared. Nixon seized the progressive side of the Democratic Party. While the Working Families Party endorsed Nixon the endorsement is only significant if Nixon wins the Democratic primary. If Cuomo wins and Nixon remains on the WFP ballot November will be a three-way race: Cuomo, Nixon and the Republican candidate, opening the possibility of a Republican ending up on top.

Is there is a real “Cynthia Effect“? Has the #metoo movement mobilized voters?

Currently Cuomo has a 50-28 percent lead in polling data, a month earlier Cuomo was polling at 68%.

Cynthia has chased Cuomo to the progressive side of the Democratic Party.

It appeared that Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General would coast to victory, probably unopposed in the primary. In a matter of hours, a New Yorker article  exposed the defender of women’s rights as an abuser of women; and his immediate resignation.

Under New York State law a vacancy in the statewide office is filled by a joint meeting of the state legislatures – in reality, the Democratic leadership in the Assembly.

Letitia James, the New York City Public Advocate, was looked upon as a leading candidate for the mayoralty in 2021, quickly jumped into the AG race, rounding up supporters in the Assembly; giving her a foot up in the September primary.

A “deal” was in the making, James to AG and Bronx Borough President Rubin Diaz to Public Advocate and another Bronx pol to Diaz’s job.

The “deal” had a toxic aroma, Carl Heastie, the Speaker of the Assembly backed away and the interim acting AG, who will not be a candidate in September, was elected to fill out the Schneiderman term.

James immediately started lining up endorsements for the September primary, Zephyr Teachout may also be an AG candidate in the September as well as Leecia Eve, an Afro-American woman with close ties to the Clinton’s with extensive experience in policy-making within the Democratic Party.

Whisperings, is Preet Bharara, the former US Attorney for the Southern District (Manhattan), going to run as an independent candidate in November? If so, the Democratic winner in September would run in a three-way race in November.

November is not the end, if James wins the city charter requires a quick, election open to any candidate who can collect the requisite signatures, the party cannot designate candidates.

According to the city charter, three days after a public advocate vacancy, “The mayor is required to issue a proclamation calling a special election within 45 days,” the election would be nonpartisan, open to any candidate who can create a new party line and gather enough signatures to appear on the ballot.

Just like for vacancies in City Council seats, the victor of the special election will not serve the remainder of the public advocate’s term. Another primary contest and general election would take place in the fall of 2019 for a candidate to hold the seat through 2021.

Check out a summary of the potential and real candidates across the board here.

The merry-go-round continues, and unfortunately voter participation in New York State is among the lowest in the nation. 33 states have early voting; voters can cast ballots days or weeks before the formal election day, in some states in person in others by mail. Other states have instant registration, the current New York State election laws are “protected” by Republicans who apparently fear increasing voter turnout.

In 2008 and 2012 the “Obama Effect,” younger and first time voters flocked to the polls; however, in 2010, 2014 and 2016 stayed home. Is there a “Cynthia Effect,”? a “#metoo” effect? Will the millenials of the past, new voters and women see the polling place as a counter to the current Washington administration?

The Center for Education Equity in collaboration with Columbia University are sponsoring a conference,

 Reinvigorating Civics Education in New York will explore the state’s current civics-education landscape and foster dialogue on strategies for fortifying civics education in our schools, boosting civic-learning opportunities beyond the classroom, and fully realizing New York students’ right to civic preparation.

 Can we engage new potential voters?

The Parkland and other school shootings has clearly mobilized students: will the mobilization spread across the nation?

My friend knocking on doors upstate is optimistic; he sees a renewed activism in a rural district that usually elected Republicans.

I hope he’s right.