City council race causing chaos

Nayaba Arinde | 9/26/2013, 2:14 p.m.

There are political rumblings in the gritty but beautiful Brooklyn. After a slim win—but a win all the same—Robert E. Cornegy was set to become the city councilman for the 36th District, a post vacated by the esteemed and longstanding local politician Albert Vann. His opponent is Kirsten John Foy, who refuses to allow a hundred vote deficit deter him from fighting for the job as councilman for the Brooklyn neighborhood.

Foy, a community activist largely known for previously working under the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network, is also a former assistant to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

The primaries were three weeks ago, and the general election is just over a month away.

This unresolved race has become the closest and most contested race in all the city’s council races. The hotly contested race included the Revs. Conrad Tillard and Robert Waterman, Access-A-Ride driver Akiel Taylor and Bed-Stuy business owner Reginald Swiney.

“Voters of the 36th Council District have been eagerly awaiting final results from the Sept. 10 primary election, and it is unfortunate that we all have to wait just a little bit longer,” stated Cornegy. “That said, our election policy is clear and exists to protect everyone’s vote. I want to thank all voters of the district for their participation and ask them to practice patience while we await the final count. I am confident that I will still prevail as the Democratic nominee, but in the end, the real winner is every voter, made possible by the Board of Elections’ efforts to ensure that every vote is counted. When results are certified, it is important for all my opponents to come together as Democrats and support our party’s full state of candidates running in the general election.”

Cornegy and his supporters have already queried a number of inconsistencies and what they call a major push from outside forces; for weeks, Cornegy has slammed Foy, accusing him of being swamped by outside money from super PAC Jobs for America and Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).

Altogether, elder statesman Vann has served as Bed-Stuy’s assemblyman and City Council member for over 30 years (27 years in the Assembly and almost 12 years in the City Council). He has endorsed Cornegy, and when he spoke to the Amsterdam News, he pulled no punches.

“I want to commend Robert Cornegy and his campaign and the residents of Bed-Stuy for really weathering a perfect storm: all the resources that came in, the money, the manpower, the outside interests that were poured in and tried to determine leadership of the 36th District. Outside resources came from groups like REBNY, Jobs for New York, some main labor unions, the National Action Network and the Working Families Party. But we have a well-informed community that knows how to protect its interest.”

Vann continued, “When the difference in the votes is less than half of 1 percent, the Board of Elections is required to manually recount the previously counted paper ballots—that is, emergency, affidavit and absentee ballots. But usually 99 percent of the time, they substantiate the original count. It is highly unlikely that there’ll be a change. Robert Cornegy is in the lead, and this is a tremendous victory for the 36th District. Robert Cornegy will be the presumed councilman elect.”