September 14, 2004
When is a Democrat not a Democrat? +
New Yorkers, have you voted today? It's Primary Day in our fair state, and there's nothing like the total mismanagement and corruption in the New York State government to really get your blood pumping. Although many incumbents are running unopposed, there are several open New York State Senate seats this year ' a rarity, since there are no term limits. But if you figure you'll just vote the straight Democratic ticket in November, you might find yourself tricked. This year's race in the Republican-controlled Senate is particularly head-scratching due to the fact that several Democratic candidates are not actually Democrats.
Here are some highlights from New York City races:
Assemblyman Stephen B. Kaufman (D and R) vs. Assemblyman Jeffrey Klein (just D). The winner of this race replaces Guy J. Velella (R), who is currently in prison for taking bribes.
Kaufman is running in both the Democratic and Republican primaries, trying to improve the chances of filling this seat with a Republican. Eliot Spitzer and Alan Hevesi are pissed about what they call Kaufman's 'negative and illegally funded campaign tactics.' [Update: Klein won, 57% to 35%. Kaufman also lost the Republican primary, but won the Conservative Party slot, so it will be a 3-way election in November.]
State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. (D) vs. former State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. (D)
Espada announced a few years ago he was switching to the Republican party, but never actually did. He's made it clear that, should he win, he will sit with the Republicans. [Update: Diaz won]
Olga A. Mendez (R/I) vs. City Councilman Jos' Marco Serrano (D), former Assemblyman, Nelson Antonio Denis (D); and retired schoolteacher Agustin Alamo Estrada (D)
Mendez recently changed parties after 26 years in the State Senate, claiming that the Democrats were doing nothing for her constituency. [Update: Serrano won, so he'll face Mendez in November.]
Bonus Suspected Republican: former City Councilman Noach Dear, Brooklyn, who is running against State Senator Kevin S. Parker (D). Dear vehemently denies it. [Update:Dear lost in a close battle, and was also fined $45K for improper fundraising.]
Confused? Yes, that's just what the Republicans are hoping. Here's to not funding public education and missing the budget deadline for another 20 years!