Christie, McAuliffe and NYC’s Bill de Blasio Score Huge Victories; Libertarian Rob Sarvis Garners 146,000 Votes in Hotly-Contested Virginia Race

Garnering more than 146,000 votes, Libertarian Rob Sarvis proved to be a major factor in Virginia's bitterly-contested race.

Garnering more than 146,000 votes, Libertarian Rob Sarvis proved to be a major factor in Virginia’s bitterly-contested race.

Capturing more than 60 percent of the vote, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie earned a second term yesterday by trouncing long-shot Democratic challenger Barbara Buono while Democrat Terry McAuliffe won a closer-than-expected race against Tea Party darling Ken Cuccinelli to win the Virginia governorship. 

With almost 99 percent of the state’s precinct reporting, Christie was polling 1,242,568 votes (60.5%) to Buono’s 781,710 votes (38%).  Though expected, the size of Christie’s victory was seen by many as a boost to his 2016 presidential prospects.

Buono, who trailed by as many as 33 points in recent polls, was leading handily in vote-rich Essex County and appeared to have also carried heavily Democratic Hudson County.

In  a heartfelt yet scathing concession speech, Buono thanked her supporters who “withstood the onslaught of betrayal from our own political party” — a reference to several New Jersey Democratic leaders, including South Jersey power broker George Norcross and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, who crossed party lines to support Christie. 

“The Democratic political bosses, some elected some not, made a deal with this governor despite him representing almost everything they’re against,” said Buono.  “They didn’t do it for the state.  They did it to help themselves politically and financially.” 

It was a message also aimed at her party’s feckless national leadership — from the Debbie Wasserman Schultz-led DNC to the Obama White House — which went all-out for Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, but barely lifted a finger to help Buono’s struggling campaign in deep-blue New Jersey.

Running a distant third in the Garden State, the Libertarian Party’s Ken Kaplan, a commercial real estate broker from Parsippany, led a half-dozen minor-party and independent candidates in the lopsided contest with 11,807 votes, while Steven Welzer of the Green Party was garnering 8,028 votes.  Diane Sare, a longtime political organizer for Lyndon LaRouche who campaigned under a “Glass-Steagall Now” banner, was running fifth with 3,257 votes.  Three other little-known candidates, including perennial candidate and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Jeffrey Boss, were farther behind.

Sare, a professionally-trained musician who spent more than $38,000 on her long-shot gubernatorial bid — far more than any other minor candidate in the race — produced some of the only real drama of the campaign when she was escorted out of an auditorium by security guards for heckling Gov. Christie during the fiery final debate between the major-party candidates at Montclair State University on October 15th.

With 99.8 percent of the votes counted in the Virginia race, McAuliffe, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee and close friend and ally of the Clintons, was polling 1,063,402 votes to Cuccinelli’s 1,008,109. 

A breath of fresh air in a race marked by widespread dissatisfaction with both major-party nominees, the Libertarian Party’s Robert Sarvis — arguably the most intellectually competent contender in the field of three — easily polled the difference between his Democratic and Republican rivals, receiving an impressive 146,254 votes, or 6.6 percent of the total.

In addition to the two widely-watched gubernatorial races, voters in more than 300 U.S. cities elected mayors yesterday.

In New York City, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a George Soros-backed Wall Street Democrat, easily swept past Republican Joe Lhota, the former head of the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and one-time aide to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to become the city’s first Democratic mayor since 1993.

With 98.7 percent of the votes counted in the Big Apple, Democrat de Blasio was rolling up more than 73 percent of the vote, amassing 741,327 votes to Lhota’s 240,179.  Thirteen other candidates appeared on NYC’s crowded, circus-like mayoral ballot, including the Independence Party’s Adolfo Carrion, a former Bronx borough president.

Carrion, who squandered more than $1.2 million on his futile bid for Gracie Mansion — most of it transferred from previous campaigns — was polling a relatively paltry 8,069 votes, or less than one percent.  It was arguably the worst defeat in the party’s history.

The Green Party’s Anthony Gronowicz, a serious student of New York City political history, was running fourth with about 4,700 votes.  A graduate of Columbia University with a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, Gronowicz — a scathing critic of Mayor Michael Bloomberg — also finished fourth in the city’s 2005 mayoral election when he polled 8,297 votes on the Green Party ticket. 

In addition to Carrion, other fairly well-known candidates in the New York City race included political satirist Randy Credico and high-tech entrepreneur Jack Hidary, a deep-pocketed candidate who reportedly raised more than $842,000 yet was garnering a discouraging 3,335 votes with most of the city’s precincts counted. 

Credico, who polled nearly 12,000 votes in the September 10th Democratic primary, ran under a “Tax Wall Street Party” banner in the general election.  The longtime civil rights activist campaigned on a platform calling for, among other things, a one-half of one percent tax on Wall Street transactions to fund a New Deal-style recovery while providing desperately-needed revenue for the city to meet some of its basic needs.  With most of the votes tabulated, the comedian-turned-candidate, whose name was hopelessly buried on the second line of the unusually crowded ballot, was reportedly running tenth in the fifteen-candidate field with 643 votes, some 68 votes behind the Socialist Workers Party’s Dan Fein.

An unusually small typeface on the paper ballots which get fed into electronic scanners added to the woes of all of the minor political bodies and lesser-known candidates in yesterday’s New York City mayoral race.  Some voters literally needed magnifying devices to read the small print. 

Election officials said the unusually small typeface — a 6-point font was used in the ballot design — was unavoidable since the ballot had twenty lines in the mayor’s race alone (Joe Lhota’s name, for instance, appeared on the ballot under four separate party names) and had to be printed in five different languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Bengali, the latter of which was added during the current election cycle. 

From the moment of its design, it was a disaster in the making.

Detroit, by contrast, elected a mayor whose name wasn’t even on the qualifying primary ballot when Mike Duggan, the former president and CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, defeated Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon yesterday to become the city’s first white mayor in forty years.  Duggan, who promised to turn that deeply troubled city around, had qualified for the general election by polling 52 percent of the vote as a write-in candidate in the non-partisan primary in August.

In Boston, state Representative Martin J. Walsh narrowly defeated City Councilor John R. Connolly to become that city’s 54th mayor.  The 46-year-old Walsh will replace Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the city’s longest-serving chief executive.  The retiring Menino, a co-chair and co-founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, was first elected mayor in 1993.

Meanwhile, Bill Peduto, a Democratic city councilman, took more than 84 percent of the vote to win the mayoral contest in Pittsburgh — a race that was never in doubt.

With all but 13 of the city’s 402 precincts reporting, the 49-year-old Peduto overwhelmed his out-manned opponents, garnering 35,257 votes to Republican Josh Wander’s 4,844.  Wander, a self-described “Doomsday Prepper,” inexplicably sold his home in Squirrel Hill in early September and was reportedly working as a private security consultant in Israel during most of the fall campaign — a development that perplexed his opponents and left the local GOP leadership scratching their heads.

Wander’s unexpected vanishing act left perennial candidate Les Ludwig, an 80-year-old citizen-activist and longtime advocate of monetizing the city’s assets through a Market Based Revenue Opportunities (MRO) program, as Peduto’s only active rival.  The only independent in the race, Ludwig reportedly spent about $4,000 on his quixotic quest — his fourth or fifth try for the mayor’s office — but was only polling 1,447 votes, or about 3.5 percent, as of late last night.

Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz — eyeing a possible bid for mayor in 2015 — cruised to an easy re-election victory, garnering nearly 80 percent of the vote against Republican challenger Terrance Tracy with about three-fifths of the city’s precincts reporting.

In Seattle, Socialist Alternative candidate Kshama Sawant, a former software engineer-turned-economics instructor, appeared to have been narrowly defeated in a bid to unseat City Councilman Richard Conlin in a non-partisan race.  Campaigning under the slogan “Fund Human Needs, Fight Corporate Greed” while vigorously promoting a $15 minimum wage, Sawant’s grassroots candidacy attracted more than 300 volunteers and raised over $100,000.  Early this morning, she was trailing the longtime incumbent by a margin of 44,252 to 38,116, or about 7 percentage points.



  1. Brian P. Moore says:

    Barbara Buono’s gubernatorial electoral efforts in New Jersey, without the financial and moral support of her own Democratic Party, statewide and nationally, is just another indication of the shallowness and weak political will of the party’s leadership and its’ lack of integrity and clear mission.

    If the Democratic Party’s allegiance to corporate monies and special interests, and its blindness to continuing wars and domestic poverty isn’t bad enough, its’ continual embrace of “power over principle” should be a wake-up call to all of the social democrats within the Democratic Party to radically alter its’ direction, or move on to an alternative progressive third party.

    Brian P. Moore, Socialist, Florida

  2. Have you looked into how “Duggan, who promised to turn that deeply troubled city around, had qualified for the general election by polling 52 percent of the vote as a write-in candidate in the non-partisan primary in August”? That’s incredible!

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