Friday, September 14, 2012


Queens State Sen. Shirley Huntley and Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, saddled by legal troubles, tumble in Democratic primaries

But Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland Jr., who is under a federal indictment alleging corruption for a second time, eked out a victory, at just 37%, because the field contained eight challengers.

Updated: Friday, September 14, 2012, 3:14 AM











Anthony DelMundo for New York Daily News

Queens state Sen. Shirley Huntley is charged with helping cronies steal taxpayer cash through bogus nonprofit. 'I'm going to win. That's it,' Huntley said outside her Rochdale Village home. She didn't.

Three state lawmakers with legal troubles entered Democratic primaries Thursday, and only one survived.

Queens Sen. Shirley Huntley, who is under indictment for a scheme to help cronies steal taxpayer money through a bogus nonprofit, was defeated soundly.

DAILY NEWS COVERAGE OF PRIMARY NIGHT
Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, who is being probed for putting her relatives and two lovers on government and nonprofit payrolls, was beaten by double digits in a race that was close during early returns.

But Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland Jr., who is under a federal indictment alleging corruption for a second time, eked out a victory, at just 37%, because the field contained eight challengers.

City Councilman James Sanders Jr. bounced Huntley 57% to 40%.

“I’m part of the clean team. A tidal wave is coming to hit Albany,” a jubilant but teary-eyed Sanders said as he thanked supporters late Thursday night.

Rivera was taken down by Mark Gjonaj, Bronx Commissioner of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, by a margin of 52% to 41%.

“This isn’t about being better than somebody ... this is about making it better and making sure our voice is heard in Albany,” Gjonaj told backers.

Rivera fled her campaign headquarters early, condemning the charges that contributed to her demise.

“This has been a difficult campaign, unlike anything I have ever witnessed in my career — not a campaign based on substance or issues but on pathetic smear attacks,” she said.

Among other results in the oddly timed primaries, which were moved so they wouldn’t fall on the Sept. 11 anniversary:

- Buffalo-area Sen. Mark Grisanti — one of three upstate Republicans who faced fierce challenges after bucking their party and voting in favor of gay marriage last year — prevailed.

- Brooklyn Democratic Sen. Martin Dilan triumphed with ease — 68% to 32%, with 94% of precincts reporting — over challenger Jason Otano, who tried to portray the incumbent as a puppet of scandal-scarred Assemblyman Vito Lopez. Even on election day, Dilan stuck to his position as one of the few elected officials not to say that Lopez should resign over sexual harassment charges. But in the end, the association with Lopez wasn’t enough to cost him in a district where he has long been popular.

- Upper Manhattan Sen. Adriano Espaillat — boosted by name recognition from his Congressional primary loss earlier this year to Rep. Charles Rangel — won at 62% after a spirited charge by a fellow Dominican Democrat, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares.

“I feel really happy,” Espaillat said. “This was like the Thrilla in Manilla and the Rumble in the Jungle.”

- In a Republican state Senate primary in Queens, City Councilman Eric Ulrich bested Juan Reyes, 70% to 30%. Reyes hit at Ulrich with an anti-gay mailer that criticized him for having dinner with a gay colleague and for hiring gay staffers — a political move that certainly wasn’t effective.

During the day, Daily News reporters at a number of polling stations noticed that turnout seemed to be low.

Thursday’s round of primaries also brought the first test of the city Board of Elections’ new system of counting tallies from voting machines electronically, instead of the error-prone, paper-based method that led to a drawn-out mess in Espaillat-Rangel in June.

Board commissioners said they thought the new system would be more accurate, but acknowledged it had not yet improved the speed of election-night results.

The oft-maligned board made one decision that was downright ghoulish — voting to allow the late Roselyn Johnson, 69, to remain on Bronx ballots as a Democratic candidate for judicial delegate, a position that nominates candidates for the bench.

Johnson died last Wednesday, and under state law the board was supposed to allow her to be replaced since she died more than a week before the election; but board officials claimed they did not have time to reprint the ballots and retest scanning machines.

There was also widespread voter confusion in East Flatbush, where elderly Caribbean-American residents complained that poll workers at voting sites close to their homes sent them to far-flung polling places.

Retired 911 operator Lynda Witt, 47, said she had been voting at Public School 269 on Nostrand Avenue for the past decade. On Thursday, poll workers at the school told Witt to go to Borough Park to cast her ballot.

“In Borough Park, they said this is not my district. What am I doing here?” said a frustrated Witt, who spent $22 in roundtrip cab fare travelling to Intermediate School 227 on 16th Avenue.

Witt returned to P.S. 269 about 7:30 p.m. where she was told by City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-East Flatbush) to cast an affidavit ballot.

Williams said he counseled at least four aggravated voters at P.S. 269 and at Tilden High School.

“It’s crazy out here. Many people don't know where to vote. They are ping-ponging between voter sites,” the Councilman said.

"People are frustrated.... A poll worker was close to tears. I can't believe it.”

Because of this year’s redistricting, Williams said, voting sites have been changed but some people appear to have slipped through the cracks during the notification process. He also said the Board of Elections hasn’t given the updated information to workers at every polling station.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” Williams said. “This is bad.”

With Simone Weichselbaum, Michael J. Feeney, Reuven Blau and Rachel Silberstein

edurkin@nydailynews.com
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