Friday, May 19, 2006

Brooklyn's Racial Race

An interesting Democratic primary will take place in New York City this September. Representative major R. Owens is retiring after 22 years in Congress and five Democrats are vying for his seat. Since the district is something like 90% Democratic - whoever wins the primary is expected to win in November.

Currently, four African-Americans are running for the seat: Chris Owens, the incumbent's son, State Sen. Carl Andrews, City Councilwoman Yvette Clark and State Assemblyman Nick Perry. The fifth candidate is white City Councilman David Yassky. Rep. Owens, who supports his son's bid, has attacked Yassky for even running in a voting rights district, which, as he sees it, should be represented by a black congressman. Many share this view.

Now I wonder whether the following scenario is possible: Yassky wins the primary by a small margin, and another party, maybe the Working Families Party, nominates one of the black candidates (maybe Carl Andrews). And then the 11th congressional district will have its first competitive November election in decades. It's purely hypothetical, though. It just might be legally impossible.

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