Tuesday’s primary results were a mixed bag, highlighted by overdue rebukes to Albany corruption in some communities, support of the status quo in others, including Queens, and the nomination of a truly frightening candidate for governor by radical Republicans.
In Jamaica, Democratic state Sen. Shirley Huntley trounced Lynn Nunes, the young real estate broker who nearly won a race against City Councilman Tom White Jr. last year. Huntley’s victory was a sharp blow to the LGBT community, as the main policy between her and Nunes was her opposition to marriage equality and his support of it.
Nunes is not giving up on elective office, however —he’s one of nearly a dozen candidates in a special election to fill the seat of White, who died late last month. That race, to be decided on Election Day, Nov. 2, features a fascinating cast of candidates including Nicole Paultre Bell, the fiancee of police shooting victim Sean Bell.
In northeastern Queens, Assemblyman David Weprin easily fended off another challenge from conservative Democrat Bob Friedrich, who’s starting to look like a perennial gadfly candidate with a vendetta against the Weprin political dynasty. He’d probably have to move to another district to achieve his dream of winning office.
In the Elmhust-Corona area, Democratic voters demonstrated a wealth of common sense by nominating civic activist Francisco Moya for the old Assembly seat of now-state Sen. Jose Peralta. Moya’s opponent was the unstable ex-senator and ex-cop Hiram Monserrate —whose name can now be left on the ash heap of ugly Queens political history along with those of fellow criminal lawmakers like Anthony Seminerio and Brian McLaughlin.
Similarly worthy of mention is Bronx Democrats’ rejection of shady Sen. Pedro Espada, in another sensible vote against corruption. It’s especially fitting that Monserrate and Espada were key players in paralyzing the Senate in 2009, further warranting the rejection they received.
Meanwhile Republicans across the state, driven by the need for fiscal discipline, nominated the most radical major-party candidate in recent history for governor: Carl Paladino. A Buffalo businessman, Paladino will face Democratic Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a Queens native and son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, in November.
It certainly looks like the right-wing Paladino has no chance against Cuomo. But until recently it looked like he had no chance against former Rep. Rick Lazio in the GOP primary, and he beat him with 62 percent of the vote.
The people of New York State must realize just how dangerous Paladino might be if elected. He has proposed voluntarily housing welfare recipients in prison dormitories while they work for their benefits. He has circulated racist, sexist and pornographic emails. And he promises to block the proposed downtown Manhattan mosque through eminent domain, a clear abuse of state authority and affront to religious freedom, rather than through the power of persuasion, as favored by more moderate opponents of the plan.
We did not expect to make an endorsement two days after the primary, but it’s clear that Andrew Cuomo should be our next governor. He has a good reform plan — and Paladino simply cannot be trusted with the reins of power. The fiscal conservatism that drove Paladino’s win can, however, help keep Cuomo on the right path in that regard.
While many of Tuesday’s races boiled down to the same-old, same-old, some results were fascinating for political watchers. The seven weeks between now and Election Day promise to be the same, and voters should pay close attention to each development and revelation that arises.