Friday, September 17, 2010

Help get out the vote

Tuesday is a critical primary day and I've been trying to raise money for a lot of candidates, but at the end of the day, it's not money that wins elections, but VOTES!  There could be a very low turnout, so EVERY vote counts.  With that in mind, here's what I need you to do:




B) Email your friends and encourage them to vote.  In particular, there are important races in DC (Fenty), Baltimore (Ferguson), and Buffalo (Hoyt), but I want to highlight three races because I'd bet that every single person on this email list knows someone who lives on the Upper West Side or Upper East Side of NY.  If so, please forward this email to them and ask them to vote for:


·        West Side: Basil Smikle for NY State Senate (Upper West Side (above 80th St., between CPW and Broadway), Harlem and much of northern Manhattan; see map here:

·        East Side: Jonathan Bing (42nd St. to 95th St.) or Robert Rodriguez (above 95th St.; down to 92nd St. between 5th and Madison) for NY State Assembly (here are maps of the two districts: and; or


Basil Smikle, a strong supporter of education reform, is taking on incumbent Senator Bill Perkins, the most dire foe of reform.  While Central Harlem is the majority of the District, due to Smikle's embrace of education reform, he is doing very well there.  He is less well known on the Upper West side and the race will be decided there, where voter turnout is historically high.  Both the NY Post and NY Daily News both endorsed Smikle (the NY Times didn't opine on the race but said to throw out the Senate incumbents). Smikle is experienced and knowledgeable, having worked with both Senator Clinton and Mayor Bloomberg.  Perkins has been an ardent opponent of reform in the Senate on education issues, trying to thwart charter school funding and new school openings at every opportunity and then disingenuously trying to trick people into believing that he has been a supporter of charter schools in his debate against Smikle on NY1.  I wrote about him here: and here:


Jonathan Bing has served his district well for many years, but now faces a teachers-union-backed challenger for having the gumption to propose a bill that would have teacher layoffs, if necessary, done by merit rather than purely by seniority.


Robert Rodriguez is in a 7-way race for an open Assembly seat and would be a huge friend to education reform issues if elected.  He is a talented political up and comer, having attended Yale and worked in the business world.  I wrote about him here:


Thank you!


Smikle's race once looked like a long-shot, but not anymore.  In addition to Gov. Paterson campaigning for him, he's being backed by Keith Wright, State Assemblyman from Central and Western Harlem, Chairman  of the New York County Democratic Party, and a trusted lieutenant of Shelly Silver.  He has a club in Harlem that has been working for Smikle.

 I hear that internal polls show a dead heat. 

 To donate to Smikle (whom I know personally – he's a GREAT guy!), go to:

 To volunteer, call Campaign Manager William Allen at (917) 612-2871 or visit the campaign office at 133 West 120th St. between Lenox and Adam Clayton Powell (2 or 3 train to 116th St.).

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