Incumbents Held Seats in Low-Turnout Voting

Volume CII, No. 12December, 2002

Heather Beaudoin

With a low vote turnout of approximately 40 percent, George Pataki won a third term for New York State Governor against Comptroller Carl McCall, Alan Hevesi narrowly defeated Assemblyman John Faso for New York State Comptroller, and Attorney General Elliot Spitzer won reelection by a huge margin. In a heated election, Frank Lautenberg won the seat for New Jersey Senate against Douglas Forrester. Joel Zelnick, a long time Local 802 member, won a County seat in New Jersey’s Bergen County.

All members of the New York City congressional delegation won re-election, as did most, but not all, incumbent state legislators. Democratic State Senator Vincent Gentile lost his seat in the 22nd Senate District to Martin Golden, who had represented much of the Brooklyn district on the City Council. Councilmember Ruben Diaz defeated incumbent State Senator Pedro Espada of the Bronx and former Councilmember Martin Malave Dilan beat State Senator Nellie Santiago of Brooklyn. Both Espada and Santiago lost Democratic primaries in September but tried to hold on to their seats by running in the general election on the GOP line.

The Working Families Party (WFP) was able to successfully retain ballot status. The WFP received over 80,000 votes allowing the party to move up to Row E on the ballot line. The Liberal Party, the Green Party, and the Right to Life Party failed to obtain the 50,000 votes needed for automatic ballot status meaning they must get voter signatures and file petitions to get their candidates on the ballot.

The Republican Party won major elections nationwide winning control of the United States Senate by one seat as well as increasing their margin control in the United States Congress. Republicans leaders were optimistic that the victories would help them win passage of Bush administration proposals that had been stalled in the Senate by the Democrats who had controlled the chamber. President Bush stated immediately after the Nov. 5 election that his top priority was legislation to create a new Department of Homeland Security.

Thousands of union members assisted in “Get out the Vote” operations across New York State for candidates running from all political parties. Local 802 would like to thank those members that volunteered on Election Day.