New City, Sept 10 — Democrat David Fried will square off with Republican candidate Ed Day in the November General Election for Rockland County Executive. Fried bested Rockland County Legislator Ilan Schoenberger in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary winning 52.2% of the vote. Schoenberger received 43% of the ballots cast. Although write-in votes which have yet to be tallied account for 4.8% of the potential votes, even if Schoenberger were to take all of those votes he would still fall short of Fried’s majority.
What had been a four man race turned out to be a fairly close two person contest on Tuesday night. Suffern Mayor Dagan Lacorte, an early leader in the contest, was forced off the ballot last month when he failed to collect the 2,000 required valid signatures to join the list of primary candidates. Vladamir Leon name was removed following a similar challenge, although he continued his campaign as a write-in candidate.
A little bit more than 1,039 “under votes” were tallied by election officials in addition to the 13,724 total votes cast for candidates on the ballot and write-ins. An under vote occurs when a ballot was cast but no selection for a candidate was made, possibly indicating voter dissatisfaction by as many as seven percent of the Democratic electorate in the primary election.
Former NYS Assemblyman Ryan Karben, who worked as an adviser to Dagan Lacorte’s campaign, says one of the keys to the primary was “Hudson vs Hasidim,” the liberal East county vote versus the religious East Ramapo vote. “Fried expanded his traditional base among Spring Valley’s black and Haitian-American voters to include the very liberal, activist riverfront communities. Fried’s vote there was being driven, in part, as a reaction to the strong support Schoenberger received in the Orthodox community,” writes Karben on his blog. Calling this split “a dangerous fault line between Democratic constituencies that will need each other in November,” Karben says the Hasidic community felt betrayed by Fried’s embrace of their political opponents. He predicted that a strong turnout by the Hudson and the Hasidic constituencies with lopsided results would indicate a polarized party. Preliminary analysis of primary election results from the Town of Ramapo support this prediction, with Schoenberger winning only about 40% of the Ramapo’s voting districts, but sweeping those by lopsided margins — like 210-0 (District 35), 237-6 (District 58) and 132-0 (District 21).