Democratic Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz, facing one of the more competitive primary and general election battles in the city (especially if one just looks at assembly seats), may lose a tool many candidates covet: the Independence Party line. A paperwork snafu with his “Certificate of Acceptance” — needed to formally accept another party’s designation — will void the signatures he gathered to appear on the ballot under the Independence banner, multiple political observers told us.
The Independence Party is valuable not because of any great number of people subscribing to their often murky ideological values, but rather due to the pleasant, non-partisan sound of its name. Voters fed up with both parties sometimes feel more comfortable voting for something labeled “Independent,” and these ballots can represent a decisive amount in close elections.
Mr. Cymbrowitz’s district is at the heart of some important demographic changes in southern Brooklyn, notably the increasing numbers of Orthodox and Russian-speaking Jewish voters heading to the voting booth on Election Day, and the political conservatism they bring with them.
Accordingly, both his Democratic and Republican challengers, Ben Akselrod and Russell Gallo respectively, have been stressing their own conservative beliefs. Earlier this week, Mr. Gallo criticized the incumbent for a vote supporting gay adoption while Mr. Akselrod sent out a press release bashing his sponsorship of legislation to repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws, for example.
The assemblyman will face his first test on September 13th in the Democratic primary. The winner there will face off against Mr. Gallo in the general.