In the recent primary election that determined the Democratic nominee for the Assembly seat representing the 65th District in Lower Manhattan, the combined neighborhoods of the South Street Seaport and the Civic Center voted in a manner that was mostly at odds with the catchment as a whole.
The September 13 primary race was won by Financial District resident Yuh-Line Niou with 2,790 votes throughout the district. She was followed by Battery Park City resident Jenifer Rajkumar, with 1,701 votes, and Lower East Side resident Paul Newell, who garnered 1,425 votes. The incumbent, Alice Cancel (who also lives on the Lower East Side), took 1,108 votes, while Battery Park City resident Don Lee won 995 votes. Gigi Li, the former chair of Community Board 3, received 844 votes.
In the Seaport/Civic Center, however, only the first-place finisher was the same: Ms. Niou won with 269 votes. Mr. Lee took second with 132 ballots, and Ms. Rajkumar placed a close third with 121. Ms. Cancel was the fourth-place finisher with 116 votes, trailed by Ms. Li, with 112, and Mr. Newell with 110.
The City’s Board of Elections calculates that there are slightly more than 43,000 registered Democrats in the 65th Assembly district, which means that overall turnout was just over 20 percent. In Seaport/Civic Center community, according to the State Board of Elections, there are 5,254 residents registered as Democrats and eligible to vote. Of these, 862 turned out for the September 13 primary, which translates into a local participation rate of 16.4 percent. This is notably higher than the Financial District’s turnout rate of 9.7 percent, but smaller than Battery Park City’s participation, which came to 24.8 percent.
The Seaport/Civic Center is divided into 14 local precincts, also called election districts. Amid these, Southbridge Towers residential complex, which (with more than 1,600 apartments) is so large that it straddles four precincts: the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth election districts. Perhaps influenced by the politically organized residents of Southbridge, two of these precincts voted in a manner unlike the Seaport/Civic Center community as a whole. In the Seventh Election District (where 124 votes were cast), first place was a tie between Ms. Cancel and Ms. Rajkumar (with 27 votes each), while Mr. Newell was a close second place (with 26 votes), and Ms. Niou finished third with 17. In the Eighth Election District, Ms. Cancel won outright with 41 votes (out of 133 cast), Mr. Newell finished second (with 28 votes), Ms. Rajkumar took third (24 votes), and Ms. Niou was fourth (17 votes).
In the Sixth Election District (which encompasses the East River waterfront between John Street and the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as small part of the Southbridge complex), Ms. Cancel won with 38 votes out of 104 cast. Another anomaly was the Fourth Election District (the area surrounding Hanover Square), where Ms. Rajkumar took first place, with eight votes (out of 20 cast), followed by Ms. Niou (who garnered seven ballots).
A further statistical oddity about the Seaport/Civic Center community is that the candidates who did best there (relative to their vote-getting elsewhere in the 65th Assembly District) tended to underperform in the overall race.
Ms. Li, for example, took from the Seaport/Civic Center 13.27 percent of the votes she garnered in the overall race, but this translated into a fifth-place showing locally and the lowest total for any candidate in the primary as a whole. Mr. Lee nearly mirrored this performance, earning locally 13.26 percent of all the voter support he would garner in the 65th Assembly District. Although this corresponded to strong, local showing of second place in the Seaport/Civic Center area, he finished second-to-last in the broader Lower Manhattan tally. Likewise, Ms. Cancel relied on the Seaport/Civic Center for 10.46 of all the votes she would get in the race as whole. This led to a pair of fourth-place finishes for her, both locally and in the entirety of the 65th Assembly District.
Conversely, the three candidates who relied least upon the Seaport/Civic Center for their overall support finished strongest in the race as a whole. This is underscored by the fact that each of them took only single digits of their overall support from this community. For Ms. Niou, only 9.64 percent of her wider vote tally came from the Seaport/Civic Center, while Ms. Rajkumar relied on the area for 7.11 percent of her broader total, and Mr. Newell took 7.71 percent from the neighborhood. As noted above, Ms. Niou, Ms. Rajkumar, and Mr. Newell respectively finished first, second, and third in the overall race.