Tags: NYC | Mayoral | Primary | Tries | Again | Tuesday

NYC Mayoral Primary Tries Again Tuesday

Friday, 21 September 2001 12:00 AM

The polls had opened at 6 a.m. and were shut down about four hours later by the New York Election Board. Public Advocate Mark Green, Speaker of the City Council Peter Vallone, City Comptroller Alan Hevesi and Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer were all on the Democratic ballot - and will be again next Tuesday, the date of the rescheduled primary.

That would have been the day of a Democratic primary runoff between the top two contenders if one candidate didn't receive more than 40 percent of the vote. If a runoff is now necessary, it is scheduled for two weeks later - Oct. 11.

A Republican primary was also being held. Mike Bloomberg, multimillionaire former Democrat, is likely to be the Republican candidate. His only challenger is also a former Democrat, longtime politician Herman Badillo, but he has not been perceived as a threat to Bloomberg.

Everyone agrees the dynamics of the primary have drastically changed. In fact, the election will be a total do-over. All votes during the four hours the polls were open will be thrown out.

That means, sadly, that those who may have voted before going to work at the World Trade Center, or before reporting to duty as a police officer or to the fire station and lost their lives later that morning, will also have their votes thrown out.

The decision to throw out all votes was made by the elections board. A source close to the board said that the step was necessary to protect the integrity of the election; during the chaos of the attack, polls might have been left unattended.

All the campaigns came to a screeching halt on Sept. 11. As well, the campaign finance board restricted all use of funding to administrative costs, such as staff salaries, rent for office space, and spending for get-out-the-vote efforts and other activities.

The campaign commercials, bickering and fundraising have stopped. But, it does not mean that we haven't seen the candidates.

Green was the first to be seen in what might be perceived as campaign mode. On Thursday, he detailed how he would rebuild the city if elected mayor.

Green spokesman Joe DePlasco responded to criticism from Republican Michael Bloomberg and others about the timing of Green's announcement. "All of us have come together to grieve during this terrible time. Mark has traveled from one part of the city to another hearing thoughts of New Yorkers. We do need to move forward, and the next mayor of New York City will be very involved in rebuilding the spirit and infrastructure of the city. And Mark has thoughts on this and believes he should share them with his fellow New Yorkers."

Green has also been serving in his role as public advocate. He spoke at the memorial service for firefighter Chaplain Rev. Michael Judge, who died while giving last rites to another victim of the World Trade Center attack.

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone has also been working non-stop in his official capacity. In this position, he has been seen more than any of the other candidates since the attack. He is usually standing right next to the never-more-popular Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has been credited locally and nationally for his handling of this disaster. Giuliani is barred by term limits from running again, although there has been talk of changing the law.

All four candidates were at the memorial service at St. Patrick's Cathedral last week. And again, Vallone was front-and-center sitting in the front row next to Gulliani. Hevissi found himself in the third row. Green and Ferrar were sitting in the fourth row.

As city comptroller and overseer of New York City's pension funds, Hevesi also has had a role to play in rebuilding the city. He announced that New York's major pension funds will pump $800 million into the stock market to help bolster the economy.

New York City local television stations will be airing shows that should help candidates get their message out before Tuesday's election. All four Democratic candidates have taped an eight-minute address, which will be shown in an hour-long special Sunday on WNBC.

Green, Hevesi and Ferrer will all appear Sunday at a forum sponsored by The New York Times and New York Channel. Vallone declined to participate. "It's our strong feeling that at this point in time it is not helpful or appropriate to have a contentious debate among the candidates" Philippe Reines, a Vallone spokesman, said.

What would have happened if the election had been completed on Sept. 11? No one knows, but a poll released the day before by Quinnipac University indicated that Green and Ferrer were leading the Democratic primary. If true, the two would most have likely faced a runoff election on Sept. 25.

Marist College Institute for Public Opinion released a poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday. Registered voters were asked which of the candidates for mayor they thought would best be able to lead New York City following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center: Green led the poll at 21 percent, followed by Ferrer with 16 percent, Vallone with 15 percent and Bloomberg 11 percent. The other candidates were in single digits, and 28 percent of those surveyed were unsure.

In a sign of solidarity, the Democratic and Republican New York State parties came together in an unprecedented attempt to work on get-out-the-vote efforts for Tuesday. A statement from both party chairmen urges "every New Yorker to vote and express our confidence in the future. What better way to come together than to exercise our most fundamental right to participate in our great democracy?"

The Democratic Party also worked with Billy Baldwin, Glenn Close, Kathleen Turner, Jesse Jackson, Harvey Kaitel and MTV's Brian McFadden to record 30-second public service radio announcements asking New Yorkers to go to the polls. They call for voters to show their patriotism and defend democracy by showing up at the polls.

Said Jackson: "The best way to honor our past is to vote for the future."

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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The polls had opened at 6 a.m. and were shut down about four hours later by the New York Election Board. Public Advocate Mark Green, Speaker of the City Council Peter Vallone, City Comptroller Alan Hevesi and Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer were all on the...
Friday, 21 September 2001 12:00 AM
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