The Working Families Party backed three out of four of the borough’s new City Council members, and incumbents who had previously run on the influential party’s line saw the percentage of their WFP votes grow in Tuesday’s election.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will be the city’s first candidate to run on the WFP line and make it to Gracie Mansion. And with the party backing the new city comptroller, Scott Stringer, and city public advocate, Letitia James, its influence is expected to grow. The three candidates for citywide office drew most of their support on the Democratic Party line.
The WFP backed three borough Council candidates who won their first term in City Hall Tuesday: Costa Constantinides in Astoria, Rory Lancman in Fresh Meadows and I. Daneek Miller in St. Albans.
The party backed Austin Shafran in his bid for disgraced Councilman Dan Halloran’s (R-Whitestone) seat in northeast Queens. But Shafran lost during the Democratic primary to Paul Vallone, who claimed victory in Tuesday’s election.
Incumbent Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) — neither of whom faced challengers this year — saw their shares of WFP voters grow from four years ago.
Van Bramer saw his share of WFP votes jump from 6.5 percent in 2009 to 10.5 percent this year and Dromm saw his go from 7.6 percent to 9.9 percent. The two had the highest shares of WFP voters in the borough.
The state’s system of fusion voting allows two or more parties to endorse a candidate who can pool votes from both. It allows a third party like Working Families to have an outsized influence in what is still a two-party — in the case of New York City, mostly a one-party — system.
The WFP was formed in 1998 and advocates a progressive agenda on issues such as paid sick leave and repealing Byzantine drug laws.
At a polling location in southeast Queens Tuesday, a quartet of CWA 1180 union members were encouraging voters to pull the lever for the three citywide candidates on the WFP line.
“We are here campaigning for our jobs,” said Betty, a Rosedale resident. “We have been working with no raise for the last four years and we don’t expect to get one under Joe.”
“We’re sending a strong message to the Democrats: Don’t leave us to be bullied,” she added.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@
©2013 Community News Group
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