Archive for the tag 'conservative party'

Akselrod (l) and Cymbrowitz (r)

Akselrod (l) and Cymbrowitz (r)

Nobody beats the ‘witz, at least not in the 2014 primary elections.

Fourteen-year incumbent Steven Cymbrowitz won his party’s nod for reelection to the 45th Assembly District last night in one of the closest elections in the borough. But it was a solid victory for the local pol, who bested challenger Ben Akselrod by a margin nearly double that won during his 2012 matchup against the same candidate.

Cymbrowitz gave his victory speech just before 11pm last night, when his team had tallied up initial reports from approximately 70 percent of precincts.

“It was a terrific campaign. We more than doubled our victory from two years ago,” he said of the preliminary numbers that came in before all votes were counted. “I want to thank every part of my community … This was really very, very special.”

Preliminary results from the Board of Elections show Cymbrowitz with 2,137 votes, or 57.2 percent of the total, versus Ben Akselrod’s 1,599 votes, or 42.8 percent. In both percentage and actual votes, Cymbrowitz showed sizable gains over his opponent, who he beat by just eight points, or 294 votes in 2012. The margin this year was 538 votes, or 14 points.

Voters may not have seen the last of Ben Akselrod in this campaign season, however. The candidate filed an opportunity to ballot on the Republican line, a procedure that could have him in the general election if he organized enough write-in votes from Republican voters yesterday. The Board of Election will take several weeks to count, review and certify those ballots to make it official.

The win appeared to surprise some political observers, who believed Cymbrowitz’s strength had been diminished by the growing political influence of Russian and Jewish voters in the district that they believed would fall more heavily to Askelrod, who is both Russian and Orthodox Jewish.

It was a tough fought and, at times, nasty campaign, with allegations of voter harassment on the Sabbath, mysterious race-tinged fliers, and anonymous phone calls that attacked the incumbent’s wife for not being Jewish.

Cymbrowitz alluded to one of those negative attacks in his victory speech.

“I particularly want to thank [my wife] Vilma for not only being a great support, but keeping her cool when she had to when the attacks started coming,” he said.

Cymbrowitz will now move on to the general elections on November 4, where he’ll face off against Mikhail Usher, who is running on the Conservative Party line, and possibly Akselrod on the Republican line.

Source: krissikes/Flickr

Lawmakers in Albany aren’t subjected to term limits and the Conservative Party wants to change that. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle is reporting that Conservative Party chairman Mike Long is pushing an effort to bring term limits to the New York State Senate, Assembly and governor posts.

The call to ask legislators to limit the amount of time they can serve in office is a tough sell. Besides the power and prestige that comes with being a New York State lawmaker, entrenched senators and assemblymembers make $79,500 a year plus a per diem ($171 per full day, $61 per half day). Governors get $170,050 plus a mansion. Combined with access to taxpayer funded healthcare benefits, that is a decent chunk of change. Oh, and did we mention, it’s the legislators who have to write their term limits into law?

Still, party leaders like Long believe it is an effective way to weed out corruption and keep politicians more focused.

“We hear a lot of talk about fixing Albany and about getting rid of the corruption. But nothing they’re doing is going to address the problem,” Long told the Daily Eagle. “If legislators knew they only had a limited time to serve, they would concentrate on getting things done for the benefit of New Yorkers, instead of putting all of their focus into getting re-elected.”

Long’s plan would call for limiting the governor to two terms (eight years) and a maximum of 12 years for Assembly and Senate members (six terms). Long acknowledged that the effort to install term limits would not be popular with the lawmakers themselves and he is considering other options, even if that means ending the careers of some of the most powerful members that his party has endorsed:

Long knows that his party is facing an uphill battle on the term limits front. “It’s pretty hard to get legislators to term limit themselves,” he said. If appealing to the lawmakers’ consciences doesn’t work, the Conservatives will consider pushing for a public referendum to be put on the ballot, similar to how the term limits law was passed in New York City.

Long said he is also aware that the entire legislator would be painted with the same broad term limits brush. If it passed, lawmakers the party has endorsed, like state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) would be term limited. “It would apply to everyone,” he said.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D), who has served the Bensonhurst for 26 years, came out against Long’s plan.

“The people should make the decision. Look at the mess term limits have caused in the city,” Abbate told the Daily Eagle. “You have people trying to move up to higher offices because they know they can’t run for re-election. And you have people running for office who are not ready. They’re running just because the seat is open,” he said.

Personally, I think term limits are a good idea considering the general sorry state of the country’s campaign finance laws. Politicians, desperate to to get reelected season after season, sell their judgement and their votes to keep their campaign chests filled. This never ending cycle is ultimately unethical, turning the most senior lawmakers into jaded hypocritical husks all while tainting the democratic process, opening doors to graft and corruption.

Many residents were appalled when State Senator Carl Kruger’s former challenger in the Democratic Primary dropped out. They were even angrier when he turned around and endorsed Kruger.

It looked like voters would be denied a choice.

And then Avrahom Rosenberg stepped into the ring, running on the Conservative Party ticket. The young, first-time candidate has the backing of Ed Koch’s New York Uprising, a campaign to kick out the worst of the state legislators.

Rosenberg made his first appearance in Sheepshead Bay yesterday, during the Sheepshead Bay / Plumb Beach Civic Association meeting’s Candidate Night. Of all the politicians in the room, he was the only challenger present and spoke for the shortest amount of time – about three minutes. He spoke little about Kruger, instead depicting his run as an attempt to inspire more youths to be involved in politics. A glimpse of his political leanings came out when he briefly discussed the new healthcare bill and what he thought were unfair costs to be passed along to his generation. Rosenberg is from Midwood.

In a rare civic association appearance, the senator himself showed up. He spoke before Rosenberg and left immediately afterwards (In the video above, we chose to reverse the order in which they appeared). He never mentioned the elections, instead touting his flu shot program and launching into a 10-minute question-and-answer session.

Kruger discussed the KamaSutra sex shop, saying that city agencies would make sure they comply with local laws, and that resident’s efforts were best spent convincing friends and family not to visit. He also decried the MTA for cuts in bus service to the area. Regarding the Voorhies Avenue mosque, he said the government was constrained in the actions it could take because of laws protecting houses of worship. But he noted that the DOB, DEP and other agencies would ensure it is built and operated according to code.