In a district reputed to have 130,000 registered Democrats, about 10,200 (including some write-ins, which we’ll have to wait to hear about) voted in the June 26 primary. That’s a dismal 8%. So you can first blame the date. Primary elections are supposed to be in September, right? So no one was really paying attention, in this year of redistricting, where all or parts of ten counties are in the new district.
But can you blame the candidates for not lighting much of a fire among Democrats, who, in this neck of the woods, are lamenting the loss of the soon to be retired Maurice Hinchey? Well, yes, you must.
Tyner, who got 41.2% of the votes and won in Dutchess County, proved that he had his math right, in one sense. He had said that if he got 7800 ‘fractivists’ to vote for him, it would probably be enough to win. Turns out that had he gotten that many, he would have trounced Schreibman. But alas, his total of 4191 is a long way from that, and substantially behind Schreibman’s 5987 total. Still, here in the news room several weeks ago, we, magical pundits that we are, gave him between 30-35%. And you have to wonder, if Schreibman loses to Gibson in November, who will want to take Gibson on in two years, when he’s an incumbent powerhouse? Will Tyner be the only one, leaning on his 41.2%?
For Schreibman, the good part is that he’s got a win under his belt in his initial political campaign. Got to start somewhere. He may be getting the hang of this political campaigning thing, a little, anyway, but the curve is still out there bending upwards as he crams to learn the craft. He’s got to know that all the fine and fancy colorful mailers and all the robocalls to targeted lists that his well funded but ghostlike primary effort produced mean nothing to the people targeted if they don’t have an actual person with which to associate the materials. He needs video of himself to reach people on social media, and a passionate, in person campaign effort. Remember what Tip O’Neill said? You have to ask people for their votes. He needs to surprise people.
Schreibman is an underdog now and he’s got to start running like it. There’s not much laurel in winning this primary, even if, as my colleague Reynolds says just over a few pages, it was a landslide. Let’s see the size of the fight in this dog.
By the time you read this, the Supreme Court will have rendered its decision on the Obama health care law. Since that’s so, I won’t be fool enough to offer a prediction as to what the justices will do, but you can see, as it moves down the road, that people are beginning to understand what it means to not be turned down for health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. And what it means to keep your kid on your policy while there are precious few jobs with benefits out there for graduates. And how much we might save if the government could negotiate the prices of drugs used for Medicare patients. If the value of those and other benefits of the law are known, perhaps we’ll keep some of them, regardless of the court’s actions. Insurance companies are already taking notice.