BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | This one is pretty hard to call. …
Hank Sheinkopf, the veteran political consultant and strategist, has worked with more than 700 political campaigns in his decades-long career. But, even with all of his experience and insight, he said it’s hard to predict a winner in the crowded, high-profile race for the new 10th Congressional District.
The newly redrawn 10th includes all of Manhattan south of 14th Street, plus part of Brooklyn. The East River-spanning district stretches from Greenwich Village and Chinatown to Park Slope, Sunset Park and the ultra-Orthodox Borough Park.
There are 13 candidates running in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary election for the seat.
Sheinkopf agreed that Councilmember Carlina Rivera’s recently snagging the endorsement of 1199SEIU, the powerful healthcare workers union, was clearly a boost to her campaign.
“It helps her because that district, parts of it, will look for particular cues, particularly on the left,” he said, adding that the support of 1199 is one of those watched-for signals. Beyond that, he said, “1199 can provide phonebanking, groundtroops.”
Similarly, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou getting the endorsement of the Working Families Party is another coup, he said.
“Yuh-Line gets help from the Working Families Party,” he said, “because in Park Slope there’s a history of people voting for Working Families Party candidates.”
The consultant noted there’s also a pattern among W.F.P. voters seen in areas of gentrification, like Park Slope: “They displace Blacks and Latinos and then vote on the left.”
In Sheinkopf’s view, the race has four “players”: Niou, Rivera, Bill de Blasio and Dan Goldman. Asked by The Village Sun if Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon — who recently won the endorsement of the Downtown Independent Democrats — could be considered a player, too, he conceded that, yes, she could be.
However, he’s not bullish on Mondaire Jones’s chances, even though the Westchester congressmember has been blitzing the Big Apple with TV campaign ads.
“I don’t think he’s a player,” Sheinkopf opined. “It’s a long stretch to move all the way down to be in that district. … Look, people know he’s not from there [District 10]. People are not stupid. TV ads won’t change that.”
As for Goldman, a Tribeca attorney who was the majority’s lead counsel for Trump’s first impeachment inquiry, the politico offered, “He has money and he has something to run on. He’s one of the heirs to the Levi Strauss board.”
Meanwhile, among the contenders, de Blasio is the “best known in the district. He’s been a fixture,” Sheinkopf said. Yet, he conceded, “The Working Families Party and 1199 endorsements are blows to de Blasio, unquestionably.”
According to the consultant, District 10 was cobbled together actually to favor an Asian candidate.
“It was drawn to ensure that there was enough of an Asian population to potentially elect an Asian congressperson,” he said, though adding, “It’s a jumble.”
Regarding Simon’s odds, he said, “She could be a player because her Assembly seat is in that district.” Yet, he added, she lost a race for higher office last year, saying she got “creamed.”
In fact, after ranked-choice voting in a 12-way race, Antonio Reynoso won the 2021 Democratic primary for Brooklyn borough president with 42 percent of the vote, with Simon placing second with 34 percent.
For the record, Sheinkopf said he is not working for any candidates in the 10th District race, which he and other observers are anticipating will be low turnout since it will be at the end of the summer.
Basically, as the strategist told it, there are a lot of variables at play that could determine the outcome of the hotly contested election.
“Maybe there’s enough Jews that don’t go away to the mountains or someplace for the summer,” he said. “Are there enough Latinos…and women, generally, to vote for Rivera? For de Blasio, do voters value universal pre-K, affordable housing; do they think he got a bum rap, he was abused by critics? Who’s got the money? Mondaire Jones is on TV but he’s not really hitting that district.”
Also, he wondered, tossing out the question, “Why has there never been a Latino mayor, comptroller, public advocate?”
In fact, this particular field of candidates actually out-progressives de Blasio, Sheinkopf offered.
“Niou, Rivera and Mondaire,” he said, “compared to them he’s a right-wing lunatic.”
Rivera is a definite “NO!” Despite the fact she was raised in Section 8 housing, she has little regard for community preservation. She supported the upzoning of SoHo/NoHo. Also during her campaign she promised to focus on preservation on 3rd and 4th Avenues with the development of the Tech Hub. After the election she reversed herself and reneged on this promise. Her support of the destruction of the East River Park was egregious. She will only add to the dysfunction of Congress if elected.
Actions speak louder than “roots.”