Kavanagh, Schwartz both shock incumbents; Friedman won’t give up

By Lincoln Anderson

While the favorites all won in the big-name races in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, it was a day of surprising outcomes, if not outright upsets, in local contests.

In the race for governor, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer handily beat Tom Suozzi, while in the Senate race, Hillary Clinton predictably beat committed, but sorely underfinanced, antiwar candidate Jonathan Tasini. Andrew Cuomo topped Mark Green and Sean Maloney in the attorney general primary.

Local primaries were expected to be tighter, and didn’t disappoint.

Mounting his second campaign since coming in second to Rosie Mendez in a crowded field for City Council District 2 last year, Brian Kavanagh appeared to have defeated incumbent Sylvia Friedman in the 74th Assembly District, which stretches from the Lower East Side to the United Nations area. According to unofficial Board of Elections results, as of 10:45 p.m. Tuesday night, Kavanagh had 43.9 percent of the vote, or 5,055 votes, to Friedman’s 40.6 percent, or 4,681 votes; Esther Yang garnered 8.6 percent, or 986 votes, while Juan Pagan got 6.9 percent, or 794 votes.

Friedman wasn’t about to throw in the towel, though.

“We have not conceded,” she told The Villager late Tuesday night. “I mean, what is it — 300 votes apart, out of 11,000, without the absentee ballots counted, the affidavits and everything else? We have not conceded. And if he won, it was under false pretenses. It was a lot of ugly stuff. We’ll be out there. We’ll look at the [voting] machines. We’ll look at the affidavits.”

Former State Senate Minority Leader Martin Connor held off a well-funded and aggressive challenge by Ken Diamondstone, an openly gay candidate, in the 25th District in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, winning with 10,979 votes, or 55.2 percent, to Diamonstone’s 8,910 votes, or 44.8 percent of ballots cast.

However, in the race for State Committeman in the 66th Assembly District, covering Greenwich Village and Soho, former District Leader Arthur Schwartz, mounting an improbable comeback, stunned incumbent Larry Moss. According to unofficial results, Schwartz won with 55.8 percent, or 4,299 votes, to Moss’s 44.2 percent, or 3,400 votes.

In the Civil Court Judge District 2 race, Margaret Chan appeared to have squeaked out a win over David Cohen, with Andrea Masley coming in third. The latest unofficial results showed Chan with 5,087 votes to Cohen’s 5,038 and Masley’s 2,251.

Schwartz was understandably feeling good on Tuesday night. After having undergone quadruple bypass surgery less than two months ago, he hadn’t even been sure if he would mount an active campaign — though it had been too late at that point to take his name off the ballot.

“I did it by going out on the issues, and not on personalities,” Schwartz said. “Though it really helped me that I had Norman Siegel, Karen Burstein and Mark Green’s support. I looked at the poll results, and Mark Green won in this district.

“I was unequivocal on the war, on [gay] marriage and the issues,” he stated. “I got across my record and all I’ve done over the years. It was my record and being blunt about the issues versus the support of all the elected officials. It shows that having the support of all the elected officials doesn’t get you elected here.”

Moss was being backed for re-election by State Senator Tom Duane, Council Speaker Chris Quinn and Assemblymember Deborah Glick. Schwartz said he hopes now to repair his relationship with Quinn and Duane, who last year pulled their support away from him and instead backed Brad Hoylman for district leader, causing Schwartz not to run for re-election. And he said he hopes he can work with Glick, who strongly opposed Schwartz’s running for State Committee.

Schwartz said his campaign materials were particularly effective in getting across his message, such as an ad showing a map of the Village with arrows pointing to projects that Schwartz has had a hand in, such as the Hudson River Park.

“I have to call my graphic artist and thank him — that ad was brilliant,” Schwartz said.

Meanwhile, Glick, reached on Tuesday night, accused Schwartz of buying the election and dubbed him “Bloomberg II.”

“It’s not a surprise,” she said of Schwartz’s victory for the unpaid political position. “Even in the Village where people are thoughtful, you can buy an election, especially if you use misleading advertising.”

Glick laughed referring to one Schwartz mailer that featured a quote from U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer.

“It made it seem like Chuck Schumer endorsed him, and at the bottom is a tiny disclaimer saying, ‘From remarks made at Arthur’s birthday party in 2003.’” She pointed to another recent Schwartz mailing from his PAC urging Villagers to attend the Sept. 13 Community Board 2 public hearing on the city’s marine waste transfer plan for Gansevoort Peninsula.

“It’s a campaign piece no matter how you slice it,” she said.

Schwartz said the mailer, funded through his West Village Alliance for Parks and Playgrounds, was sent to 15,000 residents. He noted he would, in fact, probably be sitting right next to Glick at the public meeting.