Few voters show up to decide on key races

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Voters got a chance to voice their opinions Tuesday in a range of state primary races that could have major implications for which party can control the state Senate. That is, if voters actually showed up.

 

Turnout was predictably low in the third and final New York primary, even with candidates and surrogates out in full force. At some polling stations, such as the one at the Kingsbridge Heights School (P.S. 86), it was hard to find the right entrance when a steady stream of students filed into classes early in the morning.

Diana Nervaez, who works at P.S. 86, said she was shocked at the low number of voters and intended to go to her polling station in Parkchester once she got off of work.

“I don’t think everyone is going out to vote today,” she said. “That’s why I want to vote.”

Still, candidates, such as incumbent state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, and supporters were standing on street corners, passing out literature. A number of voters, such as Robert Morison, approved. 

“That’s my main man because he does things for the community,” Mr. Morison said of Mr. Rivera. “You can see right where he is doing it now, he is always walking around the neighborhood, and when you go to his office on the concourse, you get results from him.”

Mr. Rivera said he is confident in his race against Councilman Fernando Cabrera, who challenged him in 2014 as well.

“The weather is beautiful, perfect, it is great,” he said. “I am cautiously optimistic – over the last few months we have been able to talk to thousands of voters in my district.”

Other contests in the northwest Bronx included the four-way race to replace state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, and a race between Carmen De La Rosa and incumbent Assemblyman Guillermo Linares. Results were to be released after The Press went to print. 

Mr. Espaillat, who is all but certain to take the place Rep. Charlie Rangel in New York’s 13th Congressional District, has also tried his hand at kingmaker, both endorsing and aggressively campaigning for Marisol Alcantara, a union organizer, and Ms. De La Rosa.

Ms. Alcantara is running against former Councilman Robert Jackson, Luis Tejada and Micah Lasher, a former staffer for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, in a race to take Mr. Espaillat’s place in the senatorial district, which covers western Manhattan from Hell’s Kitchen in the south to Marble Hill in the north. 

Opponents have criticized her for taking the support of the Independent Democratic Conference and vowing to join the five member breakaway group of Democrats led by Bronx state Sen. Jeff Klein.

“She aligned with the IDC to get more endorsements and more money, and I think in the end those endorsements don’t help you,” Richie Fife, a spokesman for Mr. Jackson’s campaign said in a phone interview. 

But the race has not been without its controversy, in August, Ms. Alcantara sent a series of email blasts condemning Mr. Jackson for what she called “deeply bigoted” remarks at a debate against Mr. Lasher on NY1 Noticias. The comments came when Mr. Jackson was asked if the next representative for the 31st Senatorial District needed to be Dominican-American.

“You don’t have to be Dominican, you don’t have to be Latino to best represent the district. I think when I am out there in the Latino districts, in the Black districts, in the white districts many, many people have said, ‘I’m going to vote for you, don’t worry,’” Mr. Jackson said at the debate. “Clearly you don’t have to be Latino, you don’t have to be Dominican to represent Dominicans because clearly, there have been Dominican representatives in Dominican districts that have gone to jail.”

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