By Joe Anuta
Former state Assemblyman Rory Lancman spent a year outside the public eye but is on his way to returning to public office after cruising to a Democratic primary victory for term-limited City Councilman James Gennaro’s (D-Fresh Meadows) seat.
Lancman, who represented the area in Albany for six years until 2012, will now go on to face Republican Alex Blishteyn in November.
“I’m very gratified that the Democratic voters in the district have confidence in my ability to be a part of reshaping New York City government and its priorities in 2014,” said Lancman, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2012 and did not seek re-election to the state Assembly.
In Tuesday’s primary Lancman ran against Briarwood activist Andrea Veras and Mujib Rahman, a Sunnyside resident who had hoped a large enclave of South Asian residents would propel him to victory.
Lancman received 61.7 percent of the vote, while Veras netted 21.1 percent and Rahman 17.2 percent, according to the Associated Press, with all the precincts reporting.
“He has a lot of experience,” said Mohammad Rashid at a polling place in Fresh Meadows. “He is also a nice person.”
Others said they pulled the lever for the former lawmaker because they had met him on the street.
Turnout ranged from robust to very weak throughout the district, which includes Briarwood, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica Estates, Pomonok, Electchester and a portion of Jamaica.
But things did not go entirely smoothly.
At PS 131 in Jamaica Estates, one of the voting machines broke down soon after the polls opened at 6 a.m., according to Glenn Magpantay, a program director at a nonprofit called the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which monitors polls during elections.
After the machine malfunctioned — there is only one machine per election district — then the backup machine went, according to Magpantay.
Workers started to give out affidavit ballots to 300 Bengali voters, who make up a large portion of the neighborhood’s population, and others but the ballots ran out.
“People have been turned away,” he said.
Rahman was at the school for much of the day, since he calls the area his base and said many of the voters who left would have cast their ballots for him.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.