By Frank Quinn

Last month, WestView News contributor Penny Mintz wrote an informative article on the upcoming 2021 city council elections, providing essential information about local races that probably won’t receive much attention in the larger citywide press. Interestingly, Ms. Mintz is an active supporter of one particular candidate, a fact she dutifully noted, yet her piece included valuable reporting on all candidates for the benefit of every voter in Downtown Manhattan.

One report concerned a November forum with the declared Democratic candidates for District 3, video of which can be found on YouTube. Regrettably, the video hasn’t had many views, indicating a pittance of voters benefiting from an opportunity to learn about some (and probably all) of the candidates competing for the office being vacated by Cory Johnson who is term-limited.

The Democratic primary on June 22nd may well determine who wins this office, given the absence of any Republican candidates. While many in the heavily Democratic district may find this appealing, they should contemplate how it can impact their preferred candidate. For example, consider two local officeholders in contiguous districts:

The 27th State Senate District shares much of the same territory as City Council District 3. During the 2020 primary season there were 203,485 active voters, 68 percent of whom were Democrats. Only party members can vote in New York primaries; Brad Hoylman defeated his primary opponent with 35 percent Democratic turnout, and then ran unopposed in the November election.

The 66th Assembly District also overlaps City Council District 3. Its last primary was in 2016, when Deborah Glick defeated her opponent with less than nine percent Democratic turnout and then ran unopposed that November.

These numbers reveal a confounding aspect of local elections when pols win office based on primaries with low party turnout, leaving voters to suspect their victories may be insubstantial.

We tried to make a similar point about Deborah Glick in 2020 when she faced a neophyte Republican challenger. She was heavily favored in the race but still declined our invitations to provide an interview on the issues or to debate her opponent. Glick won the election handily, but we question her strategy. By denying her constituents the opportunity to hear her answer questions on important issues, she leaves herself vulnerable to a lack of public confidence.

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Frank Quinn is a media executive, parent, and musician.

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