Mendez and Stringer win, while Ferrer on brink of runoff rerun


By Lincoln Anderson and Caitlin Eichelberger

In a low-turnout Democratic primary election on Tuesday there weren’t many surprises as the favored candidates in local races all won.

Rosie Mendez, Margarita Lopez’s former chief of staff, was victorious in the primary for City Council in District 2, which covers the area from the Lower East Side to Murray Hill. With 99 percent of the vote counted, Mendez had 33.4 percent, or 5,113 votes; Brian Kavanagh got 18.6 percent, or 2,614 votes; Gur Tsabar got 16.4 percent, or 2,300 votes; Darren Bloch got 15.3 percent, or 2,145 votes; Michael Beys got 6.8 percent, or 957 votes; Reverend Joan Brightharp got 4.3 percent, or 597 votes; and Chris Papajohn got 2.2 percent, or 312 votes.

In the race for Manhattan borough president, Scott Stringer was the winner. With 99 percent of the vote in, Stringer had 25.8 percent, or 37,657 votes; Eva Moskowitz had 16.6 percent, or 24,281 votes; Margarita Lopez had 13.1 percent, or 19,128 votes; Brian Ellner had 11.7 percent, or 16,961 votes; Bill Perkins got 11 percent; Adriano Espaillat 9.1 percent; Keith Wright 5.5 percent; Stanley Michels 3.8 percent; and Carlos Manzano 3.5 percent.

In the Fourth Council District, stretching from Stuyvesant Town to the Upper East Side, Dan Garodnick romped with 56 percent of the vote; Jack Lester got 18.2 percent, Meryl Brodsky 16.4 percent and Jak Karako 9.4 percent.

In citywide races, in the mayoral primary, with 99 percent of the vote in, Fernando Ferrer had 40 percent, putting him exactly at the threshold of avoiding a runoff. But paper ballots still would need to be counted, said Chris Riley, a Board of Elections spokesperson. Anthony Weiner had 28.8 percent, Virginia Fields 15.9 percent, Gifford Miller 10.2 percent, Christopher X. Brodeur 3.8 percent and Arthur Piccolo 1.4 percent of the vote. Ferrer lost a post-primary runoff to Mark Green four years ago.

According to the Board of Elections, incumbent Betsy Gotbaum won the public advocate primary handily, with 48 percent of the vote, avoiding a repeat of her runoff four years ago against civil rights attorney Norman Siegel. And Robert Morgenthau, the incumbent district attorney, defeated Leslie Crocker Snyder by garnering 59.2 percent of votes cast.

An informal exit poll by The Villager on the afternoon of the primaries demonstrated a strong support of Democratic mayoral candidates Weiner and borough president candidate Ellner.

Michael Sobo, a 21-year-old New York University student, said there were really only two candidates he cared about, Weiner and Ellner, though at first he struggled to recall their names.

“The younger guy who is gay, I saw him talk, and he sounded like a really sweet guy,” he said. “I came out for Weiner because he wants to legalize gay marriage in New York, and same for Ellner,” Sobo said. “And aside from that, none of the other candidates were saying anything to me.”

At The Cooper Union polling site, Neil Blumenthal, 25, also voted for Weiner. Blumenthal said a deciding factor in his choice was The New York Times’s endorsement of the candidate.

Mayoral candidate Ferrer also appeared to have a steady stream of supporters exiting the booths.

A woman who only gave her first name, Larissa, 22, an assistant property manager living at Avenue C and 11th St., turned out specifically for Ferrer.

“I think he’s going to do a lot for the Latino community,” she said. “I want to see what he can do for us.”

A 72-year-old Seventh St. resident also entrusted his vote to Ferrer.

“I think he can bring the city together again and get some unity back into the Democratic Party,” he said. For Council, he voted for Kavanagh. He voted against Lopez for the borough presidency because “she did not deliver for us and is allowing gentrification to continue,” he said, referencing the high-rise at Astor Pl. and its future neighbor at 51 Astor Pl.

It was Lopez, however, who drew Catherine Wollcott, 44, to the Village East voting booth at Avenue C and 11th St. Wollcott called Lopez a “real hero.”

“She’s been a really great advocate for us and the neighborhood,” said the Ninth St. resident. She also voted for Weiner, but doubts any of the Democrats have a chance against Mayor Bloomberg.

Also at the Village East booth, Tenth St. resident Karl Peterson, 38, voted for Weiner, though that is not necessarily who he would vote for in the general election, he said.

“With a name like Weiner, I don’t know how far he’s going to go in politics,” he said. Peterson voted for him in the primary because he is “mistrustful of basically all political rhetoric,” he said. “And I don’t believe he’s any more immune to it than anyone else, but he seemed a little bit more straight-forward. Not necessarily more honest, but more straightforward.”

At the polls at the JASA senior residence on E. Fifth St. and the Bowery, Eric Richardson, a 27-year-old senior billing analyst, also voted for Weiner and Ellner; Ellner, he said, because he was the only B.P. candidate he had heard of and Weiner because “he seems like the straightest guy there is in the way that he presents himself and his views — and he’s for middle class tax cuts.”

Few exiting voters could name the councilmember they voted for. Some said they didn’t vote because they weren’t informed and others just marked a candidate.

Irenka Jakubiak said she found the large number of candidates to be confusing. She relied on the fliers in the mail to make her vote, which she preferred to keep private. She said she was concerned the confusion turns voters away.

As it was, the voter turnout at JASA was slow according to inspector, Jean Standish.

“In my polling spot we’re up to about 76 people all day,” she said at 5:45 p.m., with under four hours left before the polls closed.

But at the Village East poll site, door clerk Benjamin H. said the turnout was better than he expected. Every half hour saw 40 to 50 people come through to vote, many of whom were seniors, he said.