Republican Russ Gallo is screaming “Shenanigans!” after the latest round of Board of Elections bungling handed the Independence Party ballot line over to Democrat Ben Akselrod, and turning the November election into a three-way race.
Akselrod lost his Democratic primary bid for Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz’s seat but, at first, appeared to pick up enough write-ins to win the Independence Party line. That honor was also sought by Gallo, who kicked off his own write-in campaign in the September 13 primary.
Initial counts showed Akselrod won by three votes out of just 39 Independence ballots cast. But Gallo said that at least 21 Independence Party members signed in to vote but were mistakenly given Democratic ballots, causing their votes to be invalidated. And many of those votes, Gallo said, would have gone to him.
Gallo took Akselrod and the Board of Elections to court over the matter, and, following an October 3 hearing, the court agrees: the Board of Elections botched the job. But the court also said it’s too late to do anything about it.
“The judge agreed that the Board of Elections screwed up, but refuses to make them fix the situation simply because they say they can’t,” Gallo said in an e-mailed statement. “We will never know who truly deserved to be the Independence candidate because we’ll never know who actually won the Election.”
Kagan, a Russian-American reporter and activist, bested 24-year incumbent Mike Geller, head of the Highway Democratic Club, for the male district leader position in the 45th Assembly District. Kagan took home 1,818 – or 61.63 percent – of the paltry 2,950 votes cast, according to unofficial counts released by the Board of Elections. Geller received 686 votes less, for a total of 1,132, or 38.37 percent.
“I want to thank all my supporters and I promise to work hard on behalf of all neighborhoods and communities of our great and diverse 45 Assembly District,” Kagan wrote to Sheepshead Bites.
The district leader position, listed on the ballot as the Member of the State Democratic Committee, is an unpaid, nongovernmental representative. District leaders help pick the party’s chairman, appoint judges and hire poll workers. Though often under the radar for most voters, district leaders can play a pivotal role in local elections, helping organize grassroots efforts and sometimes directing the support – and campaign coffers – of the state or county party. Every assembly district has a male and female district leader.
The results of this election have not yet been certified by the Board of Elections. They are unofficial results from initial counts of ballots at the booths. This week, the board will add in numbers from ballot write-ins, absentee ballots and paper affidavits.
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz eked out a primary victory yesterday, defeating Ben Akselrod by a narrow margin and moving ahead to a rare general election battle.
Cymbrowitz earned 244 votes more than his opponent, a margin of just seven percent of the 3,304 votes cast in the election. Cymbrowitz garnered 53.7 percent versus Akselrod’s 46.3 percent, according to results published by the New York Times.
Brooklyn Daily was at the Highway Democratic Club’s election night party, and here’s the scene they described:
Tensions were high at the High-Way Democratic Club’s results party on McDonald Avenue as Community Board 15 chairwoman Teresa Scavo called out the results as they trickled in.
Cymbrowitz appeared confident as he thanked friends and supporters, but left his own party before the vote was called, and refused to speculate on the outcome.
“I think we’re going to have to wait until all the votes are counted,” Cymbrowitz said, refusing to comment further.
Akselrod a former CB15 district manager, would not comment or concede, claiming that the vote was too close to call.
Cymbrowitz will now face off against Republican Russ Gallo in November’s general elections.
Well, I just got back from casting my vote in today’s primary election, and, as of 9:15 a.m., only five other people had voted at my polling station.
Let’s pick it up, Sheepshead Bay! Let’s prove to New York City and New York State that our area has a voice and we will use it!
For many in our coverage area, the only races going on are the primary battles between sitting Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and his upstart opponent Ben Akselrod, as well as the race for male district leader, between incumbent Mike Geller and challenger Ari Kagan.
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries defeated Councilman Charles Barron in the Democratic primary for the 8th Congressional District last night, setting the stage for a general election battle against Republican businessman Alan Bellone and third party candidates in November.
Jeffries supporters outnumbered Barron supporters at the polls by a wide margin, with the victor racking up 25,712 (71.9 percent) votes to Barron’s 10,063 (28.1 percent), according to the New York Times. It was one of the most well-attended elections in New York State last night, with more than 35,000 voters turning out - putting it neck-and-neck with the much more widely promoted primary for Charles Rangel’s seat.
Meanwhile, Congressman Bob Turner, who currently represents Sheepshead Bay, may be out of a job come January. His district is being eliminated, and last night he lost his bid for the Republican nomination to take on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Turner received 35.6 percent of the vote, losing out to Manhattan lawyer Wendy Long, who took 50.9 percent.
In the 9th Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Yvette Clarke won the party’s nomination to proceed to November’s election, handily defeating upstart Sylvia Kinard, who took in only 11.7 percent of the vote. Clarke will now face off against Republican candidate Daniel Cavanagh.
To begin with, the end of June is more suited for end of public school year activities, graduations and the start of summer vacations than an election.
Nevertheless, this primary, which is expected to produce an inconsequential voter turnout, has pundits and politicians anxiously awaiting the outcome, mostly because of the two candidates running for the Democratic nomination in the newly-created 8th Congressional District that cuts a swath across Brooklyn from Fort Greene and Bed-Stuy to East New York and Canarsie, and from Mill Basin and Bergen Beach to Brighton Beach and Coney Island. It even stretches east into Howard Beach and Ozone Park in Queens.
State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and City Councilman Charles Barron are facing off to succeed Towns. It would, without a doubt, be a huge mistake, if Barron was the victor.
On Tuesday, June 26, voters will hit the polls to vote in federal legislative primaries, choosing Democratic or Republican candidates for Senate (Republican only) and Congress. This year’s elections, however, are complicated by redistricting. Previously, most of Sheepshead Bites’ coverage area was part of the 9th Congressional District, currently represented by Bob Turner and, before him, Anthony Weiner. That district has now been eliminated and the area divided between three new district with incumbents many in the area may be unfamiliar with.
We’ve put together this pre-primary primer to help you understand the geographic and demographic changes within the district, as well as background information on incumbents, their primary challengers (if any), and challengers in November’s general elections.
Here’s a quick rundown on how to use this guide before Tuesday’s primary:
Visit the New York City Board of Elections poll finder and enter your address. This will tell you what congressional district you’re in, where your poll site is, and provide sample ballots for the general election so you know who is running.
Return back to this page.
Use the following links to find the district profile we’ve put together, with bios and background on each of the candidates. Note that we’ve split up the district profiles between Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean, and the links below will direct you to the appropriate site.
Local elected officials representing Southern Brooklyn communities, joined by former Mayor Ed Koch, stood before the Museum of Jewish Heritage yesterday morning to denounce Brooklyn City Councilmember Charles Barron as an anti-Semite, and urged voters to ensure defeat for Barron’s attempt to become a congressman.
Barron is competing against Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries in a June 26 primary. The winner will be the Democratic candidate in the November election for the congressional seat currently occupied by Ed Towns, who is retiring.
Because of redistricting, the current 10th Congressional District will become the 8th District and move further south, covering neighborhoods including parts of Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Mill Basin and Bergen Beach. With an area so densely populated by Jewish residents, Koch end the local elected are urging voters to show up on June 26 and stop a candidate they say has pushed an extreme anti-Semitic and anti-Israel agenda.
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, running to replace Congressman Ed Towns as the representative for the newly redrawn 8th Congressional District, visited the Manhattan Beach Community Group last week to introduce himself and discuss his stance on the issues expected to play a key role in this year’s election.
Jeffries talked about Israel, the economy and restoring trust in government, while also touting his background in both the public and private sectors. He also worked in mention of a handful of local issues, including waterfront issues, transportation and safety.
“One of the things that I’ve found all across this congressional district is that there are a lot of things that unite folks,” Jeffries told the crowd about the newly redrawn district, which will span across neighborhoods from Downtown Brooklyn to Crown Heights, to East New York to Mill Basin, to Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach. “It’s a wonderfully diverse district, but … people want good schools, people want safe streets, people want a strong economy for all. Those are the issues that I really hope to work on if I had the privilege of representing you down in Washington.”
The race kicked off after current Congressman Ed Towns announced that he will not seek reelection this year. Vying for the Democratic ticket are City Councilman Charles Barron, a controversial figure with a strong following in his East New York, Brownsville, East Flatbush, and Canarsie base, and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who has won the endorsement of many of our local elected, who represents Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Crown Heights in the Assembly. The primary is set for June 26.
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz will face off against Ben Akselrod, a Russian-speaking Orthodox Jew, in a Democratic primary that may unseat the 12-year veteran of the Assembly.
Rumors first surfaced of a potential Akselrod campaign in mid-April on Politicker, and last Friday he registered a campaign committee. He will officially announce his campaign this weekend at Baku Palace, just a stone’s throw from the assemblymember’s district office.
According to Politicker, an Akselrod candidacy in the general election could possibly stymie growing Southern Brooklyn support for Republicans, particularly among Russian and Orthodox voters who turned out to deliver wins to Bob Turner and David Storobin in what was believed to be heavily Democratic areas (True, Storobin’s win is not yet official; however, regardless of whether he obtains the seat or not, the upset from a political unknown is widely regarded as a GOP victory).
Similarly, whoever wins the Democratic primary for the 45th District will likely have a Republican opponent in the general election, as the GOP sets its eyes on future gains across Southern Brooklyn. And with Kruger’s seat vanishing and a new “Super Jewish” district being created (for which Simcha Felder has announced intentions), some observers suggest David Storobin may make a go for the seat.
Correction (5/7/2012): The original version of this article mistakenly stated that Cymbrowitz faces Joseph Hayon in 2008. It was actually 2010, and the post has been updated to reflect that.