A day after the sleep-inducing primary election that five out of six registered city Democrats avoided Tuesday, the hangover has set in. Mayoral candidate Sal Albanese said the lesson was “money matters” — but low turnout did too.
Here are some takeaways:
*On Tuesday the Board of Elections preliminary estimate found just 439,963 people voted — a mere 14% of the city’s 3.07 million registered active Democrats.
That’s close to the pathetic 11% turnout of 2009, the worst showing in modern memory. Supporters of Mayor de Blasio point to the Hizzoner’s big margin of victory over Albanese and others — he won 74% of the vote, the biggest percentage in decades — but then-city controller Bill Thompsons tallied 71% in 2009, without the advantage of being an incumbent.
While there have been periodic spikes in turnout for Democratic mayoral primaries, the trend in New York City has been dismal of late.
There have been exceptions. In 1989, turnout was 50% when David Dinkins bested incumbent Ed Koch. In 2001 it hit nearly 30%, when 785,365 Democrats showed up for a primary delayed by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
*Tuesday featured record spending by a Bronx city council candidate who barely won but could be accused of spending like Paris Hilton with little to show in return.
Retiring Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj spent a mind-bending $ 716,000 to get just 3,326 votes — that’s $ 215 per vote. This got him just 368 votes more than his main rival, Marjorie Velazquez, who spent $ 164,000 ($ 55 per vote).
*Tuesday also left city taxpayers covering the bill for two high profile losers with sordid pasts.
In Corona, Queens, ex-convict Hiram Monserrate spent all of the $ 61,000 he’d raised in donations, so whatever else he owes after losing to Assemblyman Francisco Moya will be picked up by the $ 100,100 he got in public matching funds.
In Harlem, Thomas Lopez-Pierre, who has a history of anti-Semitic comments, lost badly to incumbent Councilman Mark Levine. Lopez-Pierre raised just $ 17,000 but spent $ 57,000. That required him to dip into the $ 99,180 in public funds he received.
Both Lopez-Pierre and Monserrate will have to return any public money they don’t spend and must back up all spending with documentation to the city Campaign Finance Board.
*Tuesday produced losers who now face the sobering prospect of paying off tens of thousands of dollars in loans for campaigns that netted only a few votes.
That includes Ronnie Cho, who owes $ 55,000 and got 1,139 votes — far short of the 8,140 picked up by winner Carlina Rivera for the Lower East Side district.
Candidate Moreen King got 915 votes and owes $ 40,000, losing to Alicka Amprty-Samuel for the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn seat. Candidate Delvis Valdes got 285 votes and owes $ 50,000, losing to Brooklyn incumbent Carlos Menchaca.
*There were no major surprises at the polls, but that didn’t stop virtually every outside organization involved in the race from taking credit for wins everyone expected.
The Hotel Trades Council, which took out the largest independent expenditure of the primary campaign, saw wins in all 26 of the races in which it endorsed, including the six candidates it spent on behalf of. While some of their picks faced what were expected to be tough races — including Moya and Laurie Cumbo in Brooklyn — none were quite underdogs.
They weren’t alone in netting a sweep: New Yorkers for Clean and Livable Streets (NYCLASS) noted every candidate it endorsed won, as did six that it spent money on through an independent expenditure.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which also spent on the race, noted that the “majority” of candidates it backed won. Union 32BJ crowed about wins for its endorsed candidates, and a potential win for Diana Ayala, whose race to take Melissa Mark-Viverito’s Council seat remained too close to call. The Working Families Party, too, got in on the action, saying wins for its candidates in “competitive open-seat race” showed that the “progressive tide in New York is still rising.”