Primary election brings few Queens voters to polls

Primary election brings few Queens voters to polls
Poll worker Richard Kahn (l.) explains the voting process to Morton Greenstein. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Howard Koplowitz

Without the allure of a presidential election year and with few incumbents facing serious challenges, turnout in last week’s Democratic primaries in Queens was disappointing, according to figures compiled by TimesLedger Newspapers.

Only about 13 percent of the 464,298 eligible Democratic primary voters in the borough cast ballots for state Assembly and state Senate candidates.

Michael Krasner, a political science professor at Queens College, said 20 percent would be considered a good turnout while 10 percent is dismal.

The highest turnout was seen in the race between Francisco Moya and former Sen. and City Councilman Hiram Monserrate, where 17 percent of Democratic voters cast a ballot.

Moya won the race with 2,711 votes — or 67 percent — compared to 1,356 for Monserrate, or 33 percent.

The two primaries in southeast Queens were among the poorest in terms of turnout.

Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village) won her race against attorney Clyde Vanel 67 percent to 33 percent, although only 9 percent of eligible Democratic primary voters turned out —the second-worst in the borough.

Also in southeast Queens, Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) easily defeated real estate business owner Lynn Nunes 73 percent to 27 percent, but only 10.7 percent of eligible Democratic primary voters showed up to cast a ballot.

The race with the lowest turnout was the western Queens battle between Assemblyman Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven) and Community Education Council 24 President and Community Board 9 member Nick Comaianni, where only 8 percent of eligible Democratic primary voters turned out.

Miller also had the largest margin of victory of any Queens primary winner, defeating Comaianni 77 percent to 23 percent.

The three contests in northeast Queens all had turnouts higher than the borough average.

Of the three, turnout was highest in the race between Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) and Glen Oaks Village President Bob Friedrich, where 16 percent of eligible Democratic primary voters turned out.

Weprin easily defeated Friedrich 70 percent to 30 percent.

In the race between Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), retired cancer researcher Isaac Sasson and attorney John Messer, more than 14,000 voters — or 15.5 percent of eligible Democratic voters — turned out.

Stavisky won the race with 45 percent of the vote, followed by Sasson’s 34 percent and Messer’s 20 percent.

In the four-man race to replace retiring Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside), 14 percent of voters cast ballots, or 5,483 eligible Democratic primary voters.

Establishment candidate Edward Braunstein won the race with 37 percent of the vote, followed by former Assemblyman John Duane with 28 percent, attorney Steve Behar with 18 percent and Whitestone lawyer Elio Forcina with 17 percent.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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