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Primary elections may be key to NY equality

Timothy Kincaid

December 2nd, 2009

I am not particularly receptive to the argument that a representative can be excused at times for voting in a way that might not reflect their own views, but which is required to keep their seat. I think that equality is worth defending even if it requires personal sacrifice.

However, I have nothing but contempt for those who elect to endorse discrimination and bias even when there is no downside to siding with decency and equality.

And of the eight Democrats who voted to deny equal civil rights to their fellow New Yorkers, five were elected in 2008 with no organized opposition in the general election. They were either unopposed, or had only a token Republican opponent who received but a tiny percentage of the votes:

    32nd • Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx)
    10th • Shirley Huntley (D-Queens)
    27th • Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn)
    13th • Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens)
    12th • George Onorato (D-Queens)

These are definitely not elected officials who secretly support us but were fearful of Republicans using that support against us. No, these Senators voted against our equality because they believe that we are inferior to them and that we don’t deserve the same rights that they enjoy.

The other three won by the following percentages:

    15th • Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens) — 58%
    48th • Darrel Aubertine (D- Cape Vincent) — 53%
    58th • William Stachowski (D-Buffalo) — 53%

While these are not landslides, they are comfortable majorities.

All of which suggests to me that an organized primary fight in which a supporter of equality could prevail might be all that is necessary in most of these districts to bring about marriage equality in New York in the very near future.

As Joe Jarvis at Joe-My-God seems to be on the same page:

Remember all of these names. I will be coming back to you to help fund their opponents.



December 2nd, 2009 | LINK

If they could do it in Massachusetts they can do it in New York. Even intelligent, non-bigoted Republicans would do the trick. Looking at the favorable polls in NY, bigotry has to be a losing stance in many of these districts.

December 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Excellent analysis, Timothy. I think we should also consider fielding, supporting, and funding pro-equality Democratic opponents to run against those Republicans (all of which voted “No” today) that won their prior elections by narrow margins. Those folks are fair game for being targeted for replacement as well.

December 3rd, 2009 | LINK

Never support a political party, only support individuals who support you. When you give to a political party, you give to ALL candidates that party represents. As we saw here, eight of them are not supportive of gay equality. I hope people remember the “Hate dash 8” (H8-8) Democrats.

Below are a couple signs I quickly drafted..

December 4th, 2009 | LINK


I’ve been watching the NY state Senate for a couple of years in anticipation of their being the major obstacle to gay marriage legalization. There were about 28 votes for passage in the spring.

I’d give the latter three Senators a pass. Addabbo is a freshman representing a sadly conservative, ethnic Italian district in the Bronx and Queens. (Bush won it, McCain almost did iirc.) I think he’s on the right side of this but when he saw it couldn’t pass, given the screwy rage in the electorate he chose to play it safe.

Aubertine and Stachowski are from the west side of the Appalachians. Which is to say, on the other- conservative- side of the cultural split in New York State. Both aren’t safe in their districts (Aubertine’s is Republican, Stachowski’s a swing district) and are about as well as Democrats can do given the Republican-favoring gerrymandering of the state. Basically, we can’t reasonably expect any votes in favor of gay marriage from senators representing western New York. Antoine Thompson’s commitment and vote in favor are a gift.

In short, imo all the votes in favor in the next few years in the state Senate, but one, will come (and have to come) from senators representing the Hudson Valley, the City, or Long Island.

Diaz and Monserrate represent poor, socially quite conservative, City districts and said loudly early on that they’d never vote to legalize gay marriage. IIRC Diaz was actually a minister. They and Espada were the main figures in the ‘coup’ in the state Senate this spring and are implicated in some serious corruption as well- that’s quite enough for them to get primaried by the state Party. Though chances are they’ll retire or flip in party identity before the primary elections. They epitomize that the corruption in the chamber concentrated on the Republican side under Joe Bruno, but definitely occurred on the Democratic side as well.

Huntley represents a poor black district and iirc has cited personal religious reasons for inability to support gay marriage. Onorato’s opposition is news to me- I hadn’t heard of him as a no vote before or in trouble for reelection; I’ll have to look into his explanation. Carl Kruger is a problem conservative Democrat representing a fairly safely Democratic district; quite a few Democrats in New York wouldn’t mind him losing a primary.

What’s missing from the picture here is: Republican state Senators in relatively liberal/Democratic voting districts to replace with pro-marriage candidates probably Democrats. That list begins with some of the seven incumbent Republicans on Long Island other than LaValle and Hannon (who are safe), the two remaining in the Five Boroughs other than Lanza (who is safe on Staten Island), and the half dozen whose districts are on or within 20 miles of the Hudson between Westchester and Saratoga.

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