And the whole endeavor only cost taxpayers a little under $15 million! Of course, that’s just to keep the polls open and staffed from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. across the city, and doesn’t take into account the city’s generous 8-to-1 matching funds program that fills the candidate’s coffers with taxpayer cash.
Voters were asked to choose between 17(!) candidates all running on (wink-wink) nonpartisan lines, although people certainly knew which candidates leaned blue and which red. But with so many people on the ballot, someone could win with just 6 percent of the vote, hardly an impressive plurality.
And with so many candidates, there was no precedent or way to predict how the election was going to turn out. It made for some weird strategies and some weird bedfellows.
For example, the generally left-leaning editorial board of the Daily News surprised many when it endorsed Republican (but not a Republican, remember) Councilman Eric Ulrich of Queens for the post in a twisted bit of logic.
They argued that it was necessary to elect Ulrich to make sure there is a competitive Democratic Primary on June 26, which would decide who would get to trounce Ulrich in the General Election in November.
Their reasoning goes like this: If a Democrat won the seat, the advantages of incumbency would make the June primary that much more irrelevant. Democratic voters wouldn’t be as motivated to go to the polls again to vote when they already have a Democrat in office, and qualified Democratic candidates would be less inclined to mount a challenge against a current office holder.
But, however, if Ulrich won on Tuesday, most of the 16 Democrats (but not really Democrats, remember) running in the special election would enter the primary, where they would need to secure 40 percent of the vote to get the nomination.
The Daily News argues that this would show a much broader support for the Democratic candidate than whatever they were able to garner in Tuesday night’s election. Then they can take the Democrat’s overwhelming voter advantage in the city into November to bounce Ulrich from the office.
To be fair, the Daily News also praised Ulrich for being on board with Amazon coming to Long Island City when the rest of the candidates were denouncing the deal, so it wasn’t just about the long political game.
However, they also really liked Michael Blake, but were suspicious of his true support for Amazon, so used the “we need to vote for Ulrich to make sure that we can have a real election in a few months to make up for this sham election, so vote for the guy we probably wouldn’t endorse if we weren’t just going to do this all over again twice before Thanksgiving” as the deciding factor.
By the time you read this it won’t help inform your vote, but itt highlights the complete absurdity of this special election.
That said, we hope you got out and voted and cast your ballot for whatever candidate you decided was the best based on whatever crazy metric or method you used to arrive at you decision.
For us, we took the number 17 for the total number of candidates on the ballot, multiplied it by two for the upcoming primary and general elections, divided it by the Golden Ratio to four decimal places (1.6180), subtracted 4 for the number of public advocates the city has already had (not including acting public advocate Corey Johnson, of course), divided that number again by 2 and added Pi to two decimal places (3.14) and then rounded up, which gave us 12.
Which means we voted for...Manny Alicandro?! Huh, whatever.