Not About Incumbency

One narrative that pervaded much of the coverage of Tuesday’s primary – specifically with Sheldon Silver and Marty Connor on the ballot – was the notion that it was turning into a referendum on incumbency. (Having Obama and McCain talk about “change” all the time only helped feed that notion.)

Which isn’t exactly how voters in the district saw things. Neither did some major power brokers, like the New York Hotel Trades Council, whose union members carried literature for both Silver, a long-time incumbent, and Dan Squadron, new-guy challenger. I asked Mike Rabinowitz, deputy director for policy at NYHTC, how his members in the field carried both the Silver and Squadron messages.

“People can understand you’re making a choice between two candidates, not really between incumbents and challengers,” Rabinowitz said. With that ideological separation possible, unions like Rabinowitz’s could sell the message of both Silver and Squadron by using a different message: delivering results.