Local election roundup

We are often so focused on national politics, that we tend to forget about what is happening in state and local politics. On Nov. 5, state and local elections were held in various states across the United States, including in the tri-state area. Some states even had ballot initiatives and referenda each of which allow voters to have a direct say in the legislative process.

 One of the most competitive races of this election cycle was the one between current Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, a Democrat, and Don Clavin, the current receiver of taxes and a Republican. Gillen was vying to maintain her position while Clavin sought to win the Supervisor position. According to Newsday, Clavin already announced a win on election night, however, Gillen has not yet bowed out since absentee ballots have yet to be counted. Currently, Clavin is 1,392 votes ahead of Gillen.

 According to the New York Times, on Nov. 5, New Yorkers had the opportunity to vote in ballot initiatives to amend the City Charter. One such initiative was the institution of a system of ranked-choice voting in elections, “which allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, rather than selecting only their top choice. The goal, supporters said, was to reduce runoff elections and minimize the risk of split votes.” The opposition argued that this will “leave minority candidates and voters at a disadvantage.” Nonetheless, The New York Times reports that the ballot initiative was enacted with “73 percent support” and “will debut in 2021.”

 A referendum in Jersey City saw its “residents approve stricter regulations on short-term rentals,” reports The New York Times, which are said to negatively impact Airbnb.

 According to The New York Times, “The new restrictions aim to weed out large-scale investors who have rented out hundreds of brownstones and condos through Airbnb, raising quality-of-life complaints and concerns about the impact on housing affordability.”

 There are supporters, however, who advocate for this ordinance. According to an op-ed on northjersey.com written by Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City, short-term rentals do more than increase the prices of houses, they also impact the lives of residents. He writes that “these short-term rentals are used for parties or huge gatherings, disrupting and interfering with residents’ lives time and time again.” He also insists that the ordinance will keep communities safe by eliminating transients and allowing people to acquaint themselves with their neighbors thereby building trust.  

Also in New Jersey, Senator Bob Andrzejczak, a Democrat, was unseated by Mike Testa Jr. a Republican. President Trump gave his support to Mr. Testa which is no surprise, considering that Mr. Testa Jr. was the co-chairman of President Trump’s re-election effort in New Jersey. One issue of importance to Mr. Testa Jr. is immigration. He encouraged voters to vote if they “oppose putting the rights of illegal immigrants before American Citizens” according to the Cape May County Herald.

 In Connecticut, Mayor Joseph P. Ganim of Bridgeport claimed victory in his re-election bid. What’s also interesting, is that he’s an ex-con, who was, as The New York Times explains, “convicted on multiple charges of corruption and sent to federal prison.” After his release, he was re-elected mayor in 2015 after having been in office years before.

 This month has been a super-exciting electoral month – likely only a precursor to the excitement of the upcoming 2020 presidential election!