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November 5, 2010 10:37 pm

Local Election Summary: Few Surprises – Most New York City/State/Federal Incumbents Retain Offices

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David Paterson. Photo: David Shankbone.

All politics, if nothing else, are ultimately local. In the midterm 2010 elections with millions of votes cast, the bottom line question in virtually every election is/was what can you do for me?

It is the “day after.” Election Day is done.  So are some candidates.  Others have landed upright – although on what may be somewhat unsteady electoral ground.  A few of the newly elected New York officials, ready or not, have less than 60 days to prepare for new Washington, Albany or local berths.

Who Won What, Where?

State wide, Democrats were successful in every major campaign, although the victory of appointed – now elected. As expected, the real question was not whether he would win but by what margin Attorney General Andrew Cuomo would be elected Governor of New York State.  Virtually each time major opponent (there were about seven) Carl Paladino made a comment or pronouncement, the conservative Republican seemed to manage to alienate yet another group or constituency.  Cuomo, with the ultimately lame duck, same party governor, David Paterson, preceding him, must now re-institute confidence and belief in New York State government, lead the legislature and convince the population that he can clean up and invigorate a mired Albany legislature so that it can actually provide the people of New York with effective and “good” government.

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State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli win was not declared the winner until well after many had left celebrations.  Noting the importance of the union movement to his win – “I cannot thank you enough” – he declared, DiNapoli recalled that he had won a hard fought campaign for the state’s chief fiduciary office during which many, even those in his own party, appeared to doubt his success.  (Cuomo had remained “neutral” as Republican opponent, Harry Wilson, challenged but could not defeat the incumbent.) In the race for Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman won in a heavily contested 7-way race, winning both in downstate urban areas and throughout New York State, including Westchester, Onondaga and Monroe Counties, as well as in the mid-Hudson valley.  His work as the state government’s most powerful watchdog will call heavily upon his law enforcement experience.

New York State’s Congressional delegation remained generally intact.  Both Senators, Schumer and Gillabrand, retained their seats, as did all of the New York City area members of the House of Representatives.   Long time sitting Senator Chuck Schumer, ran a virtual nobless oblige campaign, facing no real fight for his powerful office. Appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand secured her position, now as an elected Senator.

Local Congressional races did provide some electoral colorful electioneering. In the First Congressional District, the position of incumbent Tim Bishop is under dispute.  (The pedigree of candidate Christopher Cox, grandson of President Richard Nixon, lent great interest to this race.)  Steve Israel, long time democratic incumbent and would be Senatorial candidate seemed poised to retain his office from the early days of the campaign.

District 3’s Pete King (R/C/IP), a well known and verbal supporter of Israel won his contest. In the 4th Congressional district, Carolyn McCarthy faced little opposition. In District 5, Gary Ackerman (D/IP/WF), running for his 15th Congressional term, represents a district covering queens and Nassau County.

The district’s heavily Jewish and multi ethnic population, offered an interesting electoral campaign.  In office since 1973, in the 2010 campaign, he was supported by the J Street Lobbying group, a lobbying organization whose support for Israel has been questioned, Ackerman is vice chairman of the House Foreign Affair Committee and head of its Middle East and South Asia subcommittee.  He also ran with the support of the Working Family’s Party about which has been subject to challenges of its electioneering activities. Ackerman defeated two candidates, the most significant of which was Dr. James Milano.

In District 7 Congressman Joe Crowely, also a strong supporter of the Jewish community, had an easy election win.  The easy wins of District 8’s Congressman Jerald Nadler, a twenty year Congressional veteran and strong supporter of Israel, running against challenger Susan Kone, was never doubted.  Nadler, the consummate New Yorker, is an outspoken lawmaker, supporting enhanced health care and protection for 9/11 is also a proponent of the Islamic community center near ground zero.   He is an advocate for more substantial cleaning of the surrounding buildings, has held hearings on the treatment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners and is a strong supporter of the 2009 economic stimulus bill. He holds an important position on the Judiciary Committee and is a strong advocate of transportation improvements in the tri-state area.  In the 9th District, Anthony Weiner, positioning himself as a strong advocate for small business and job creation, defeated opponent Bob Turner.

Carolyn Maloney, running in the multi-faceted District 14, which encompasses areas as diverse as Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Astoria and Long Island City (Queens) and Roosevelt Island. She readily defeated the challenger Ryan Brumberg.   Maloney has earned both the love and the trust of her constituents. She maintains influential positions as Chair of the Joint Economic Committee and member of the House Committee on Financial Services.  The prodigal son of Harlem, Charlie Rangel, who is caught up in a battle against troubles much of his own making, has, at 80, easily won yet another electoral battle. His 81% plurality is virtually unprecedented.   No opposing candidate had the clout to rout Rangle.

Strong Israel supporter Eliot Engel readily defeated opponent York Kleinhandler.  Engle has used his office to excellent effect in rejuvenating the Bronx.  North of the city District 18, Nita Lowey will remain in Congress for another term.  Once considered a possible democratic candidate for Senate, Lowey holds an extremely powerful House Ways and Means committee position.

As noted, in Congressional District 19, Republican Nan Hayworth’s defeat of John Hall has added another Jewish member to the New York State Congressional delegation.

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