Stunning Developments in the 44th City Council Race
We knew this was a race to watch from day one, and that estimation has been on target.
The 44th City Council Special Election to replace Simcha Felder, now working with Comptroller Liu, has been one longer roller coaster ride, and it’s still not over.
With just a couple of days to go, some massive developments in the last few days have totally altered the playing field in the race like we haven’t seen in local politics in some time.
The most recent development was the notice that independent Republican candidate Jonathan Judge was thrown off the ballot by an “intellectually dishonest” decision on the part of an appeals court that was “complicit in the machine politics that have been working to fix this election.”
In an email sent to his supporters, Judge’s campaign issued a release condemning Democratic Party Geppetto Vito Lopez and his pawn David Greenfield:
APPELLATE COURT UNDERMINES ELECTION LAW AT THE EXPENSE OF THE VOTERS
The Jonathan Judge campaign has released the following statement:
Thursday afternoon, in an intellectually dishonest and unfair decision, the Appellate Division sided with the Vito Lopez machine
candidate David Greenfield against promoting choice at the ballot box. The court undermined over two decades of election law in two-page decision denying Mr. Judge his rightful place on the ballot. The decision came just weeks after Mr. Judge’s supporters collected nearly 500 signatures above the required amount to place on the ballot and achieved the threshold for matching funds.
“I am deeply disappointed and disturbed by the unanimous decision of the Second Department,” said Judge. “It is a shame that they have become complicit in the machine politics that have been working to fix this election. Had the court conformed to a proper strict constructionist interpretation of the law, they would have returned the matter to the lower court and recounted all of the signatures on our petitions. At that time, it is a fact that they would have had no choice but to certify that we had more than enough valid signatures to remain on the ballot. Instead, they chose to enforce hypertechnical procedure while granting gross exceptions to election law in order to rob the people of our district of choice in this election.”
“Therefore, given the circumstances, it is with deep regret that I must inform my neighbors that I will not be able to pursue my candidacy in this Special Election any further,” Judge said. “I made my decision after consulting with all of the friends and supporters who went out in the district and forged this grassroots campaign with me. Together we built an organization that will not stop fighting for the needs of our district against the corrupt political machines of our city. This is merely a prelude to the achievement of that goal.”
Having committed his entire adult life to public service, Mr. Judge pledged that this race was only the beginning. “I will not stop working for the needs of this district. The political machines and politics as usual have hurt our community for too long. United together, our community can and will rise above ,” Judge added.
It remains unclear if Mr. Judge or his campaign will pursue further avenues in court.
As of Friday, it seemed that Mr. Judge would continue in the race for his own candidacy. However, at least one story online has indicated Mr. Judge’s support of candidate Joe Lazar:
“I am proud to endorse Joe Lazar for City Council today,” said Judge, the day after the Appellate Division refused to overturn the judgment against him from David Greenfield’s lawsuit. “Of course, I am disappointed that the hard work of my many supporters has been snuffed out by Vito Lopez and his protégée David Greenfield through their manipulation of the courts and Board of Elections, but I am heartened by the fact that I can now direct my supporters to put their incredible enthusiasm behind a candidate as intelligent and qualified as Joe Lazar. In these desperate economic times, we can’t settle for anything less than a City Council Member of Joe Lazar’s proven fiscal responsibility and impressive experience in cutting the waste out of government budgets bloated with giveaways to special interests and pork.”
This does not come as a surprise.
After the mockery the Brooklyn GOP made of itself and the recently unearthed evidence of their connections with Democratic Boss Vito Lopez, it was clear that he would not support their no-name candidate who, to our knowledge, has “not even the presence of a campaign,” as one emailer told us.
Doing so would merely embolden a dangerously Democratically collusive county executive.
And endorsing David Greenfield was obviously not an option. We’re sure Mr. Judge would rather endorse cholera.
I sympathize with Mr. Judge’s position and am glad that he chose someone who, whether Democrat or not, is clearly not a liberal. Unlike David Greenfield, supporting Lazar means supporting the enemy of Vito Lopez. We here at Atlas are so disgusted by the tactics with which Lopez and his cabal have undermined this race. While it has made for great news, it has been deeply disturbing to see the lengths the Democratic machine will take in this race.
And when I say Democratic machine, I am, of course, including the “Great” State Senator Marty Golden.
Senator Golden is complicit in the dealings of Vito Lopez in this election by both his action and inaction. He has embarassed both himself and his party by supporting a Vito Lopez Democrat.
Let me emphasize: neither I nor my colleagues believe that all Democrats are “evil,” as the Ann Coulters of the world would have you believe. In fact, we live in a city full of Republican-leaning Democrats who never changed their party affiliation. That’s how my generation was taught: register Democrat no matter what.
In the end, what matters are your values and beliefs.
As is quickly becoming clear, there is very little difference between the Brooklyn GOP Leadership and the Brooklyn Democrat Leadership. Their values are very much the same: preserve power, ask not what we can do for you, what’s good for the goose is good for the goose, etc.
Mr. Judge has turned Mr. Lazar’s common conservative beliefs into the basis for his support, not a vendetta or support with strings attached. He is doing the opposite of what the GOP leadership and Vito Lopez would do.
For that reason, we respect his decision.
Nevertheless, we doubt this will be the last we see of this bright young star in politics…
Meanwhile, The Brooklyn GOP Chairman’s Once and Future King Mike Bloomberg was seen cavorting with David Greenfield in Boro Park. Hearing that, we were reminded of an earlier piece in the New York Times just after Mr. Bloomberg won reelection by a razor-thin margin:
Without question, Mr. Bloomberg was eager to woo the city’s Hasidic Jewish voters. He met behind closed doors with influential rabbis, courted their congregations, and gave an eight-page interview to an Orthodox magazine, describing the challenge of growing up Jewish in an Irish and Italian neighborhood.
Still, his share of the vote fell sharply in Brooklyn’s largest Hasidic enclaves on Nov. 3, and the decline was one of the sharpest among any group of voters.
“We didn’t vote as Hasidim. We voted as New Yorkers,” said Mendy Hecht, 36, a Lubavitcher in Crown Heights, who pulled the lever for the mayor’s Democratic opponent, Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. “My vote was a vote of protest against Bloomberg.”
Four years ago, Mr. Bloomberg received near-unanimous backing from Hasidic voters, who are known for voting as a bloc, basing their choice on a community leader’s recommendation and a candidate’s ties to local religious elders. On the surface, it seemed logical that they would again unite behind the mayor, a Jewish billionaire who had donated generously to local organizations since taking office in 2001.
But that’s not the way it turned out.
We’ll see how that turns out for you, Mr. Greenfield.
So, all in all, with a few days left, the race in the 44th is getting pretty hot.
With so much riding on this election, it would be impossible for us to miss out on the action.
Stay with Atlas for continuing coverage through and after election day!