Primary Day Prognostication
Last night on CapTon, I [Liz Benjamin] put a political twist on the proverbial question: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
If an election is held, and no one – or close to no one – turns out to vote, how viable are the results?
It’s not an apples to apples comparison, I know. There will be clear winners and losers after the polls close tonight – or perhaps after extended paper ballot recounts and court battles.
But in a number of cases – particularly in the three-way GOP US Senate primary between Rep. Bob Turner, attorney Wendy Long and Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos -today’s victories will hardly be indicative of how candidates will perform against their general election targets in November.
The expected low turnout – perhaps even lower than the less than 7 percent of enrolled Republicans who showed up on April 24th for the New York presidential primary – coupled with newly drawn district lines make today’s races almost impossible to predict.
This much is certain, though: Whichever of the trio of little-known, underfunded and out-enrolled candidates battling to take on Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the fall emerges, it’s going to be an uphill fight to try to take her out.
In several of the congressional primaries, however, particularly in heavily Democrat-dominated downstate districts, whoever wins today is all but certain to be victorious in November.
That includes embattled Harlem Rep. Charlie Rangel, although he also has the Working Families Party line and could continue to fight on there if he’s upset by one of his opponents – most notably Sen. Adriano Espaillat, or the long-shot Clyde Williams, who has picked up a number of newspaper endorsements in recent weeks.
Others who have the WFP insurance policy:
– Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, whose fight with controversial New York City Councilman Charles Barron for retiring Brooklyn Rep. Ed Towns’ seat is being closely – and nervously -monitored by the Democratic establishment;
– Rep. Nydia Velazquez, who is being challenged by NYC Councilman Erik Dilan (really a proxy for her longtime nemesis, Brooklyn Democratic Chairman/Assemblyman Vito Lopez);
– Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who is battling party-backed (and, as of last night, Gov. Andrew Cuomo-backed) Assemblywoman Grace Meng, NYC Councilwoman Liz Crowley and Dr. Robert Mittman for the seat being vacated by retiring Queens Rep. Gary Ackerman.
Other congressional races to watch: (More at State Of Politics)