Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Federal NYC Primary Roundup

Last night was a first in the history of New York politics: the city and state held primaries for its congressional seats in June, a break from the past of usually holding them in the first week or two of September. There were a batch of competitive Democratic primaries in NYC that will result in some new and familiar facing going to Congress in 2013. 

Congressional veteran Charles Rangel won his primary for a 22nd term in the House. His district was redrawn to make it majority Hispanic and he faced a tough Dominican opponent. But Charlie is a fighter and he survived -- and, at age 81, he now has the chance to wind down his career with dignity.
In Queens, a young Assemblywoman named Grace Meng won a competitive primary to run for the congressional seat in Bayside. If elected in November, she will be the first Asian American representative from New York State in Congress. However, she faces a tough race from crazy Republican Dan Halloran -- let's hope she beats him like a drum.

Finally, Assemblyman Hakeen Jeffries overwhelmed City Councilman Charles Barron to represent a congressional district in Brooklyn. This is one race where not only New Yorkers but Democrats nationwide are breathing a huge sigh of relief. Barron was (presumably still is) a noxious person, best known for spouting anti-Semitic nonsense and for calling various African dictators heroes. Sending him to Congress would have been a disaster for Democrats and a huge boon to Republicans. However, he's finished, and Jeffries seems like a strong candidate to win in the fall and do a good job. 

Also, Senator Gillibrand now has a Republican opponent for the fall: Wendy Long, a lawyer with no political experience. I think this is a first: two women from different political parties fighting it out for a Senate seat in New York State. It won't be a close race, however. Gillibrand has been a very good senator, doing great work for 9/11 victims families and cracking down on insider trading in Congress. She has high approval ratings and tons of cash. Long, on the other hand, is a non-entity: no record, no experience, no ideas. Long is, however, a hard right-wing ideologue who said that not only would she not vote for gay marriage but she wouldn't even go to a gay wedding. Ms. Long (and she will remain Ms. Long, not Senator Long) would probably be a formidable candidate in Alabama. However, this is New York and Wendy's political career will probably end up in Never Never Land. 

Onto November!

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