By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
MANHATTAN — The desire for change that led voters to elect lower Manhattan State Sen. Daniel Squadron in 2008 is what likely earned him a second term in office Tuesday — only this time he might have the Republicans to thank for an easy victory.
Voters in the East Village and Lower East Side cited the sweeping push from conservative candidates locally and nationwide as their reason for voting strictly down the Democratic line, despite their unfamiliarity with Squadron.
Voters in left-leaning District 25, which covers the majority of lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, said they pulled the lever the 30-year-old Brooklynite over GOP challenger Joseph Nardiello because Squadron simply sits on their preferred side of the aisle.
Squadron handily beat Nardiello with 86 percent of the vote, the New York Times reported.
"I don't know who he is, but I voted for him," said Richard Harrington, 41, a graphic designer who lives on East 10th Street, after emerging from a poll site on First Avenue Tuesday. "It's generally inconceivable that I would vote for a Republican over a Democrat."
Squadron was an "easy choice" for Michael Reynolds, 43, who also openly acknowledged his lack of acquaintance with candidates in local races.
"I just don't want anything Republican in my life," said the Avenue A resident, who works in publishing.
Those who did know of Squadron highlighted his involvement with the community and forward-thinking agenda, which helped him unseat 30-year incumbent Marty Connor in the 2008 Democratic primary.
"He's pretty progressive," said Liz M., a designer living on Avenue A, noting that Squadron has been supportive of a neighborhood housing group that she's been a member of for 20 years.
"Some of these [elected officials] are totally inaccessible," she said. "He was accessible to us."
But what likely ensured Squadron a lopsided win this year is local voters' general distress over the rise of grassroots conservative movements like the Tea Party.
"I vote for those guys because they're the lesser of two evils," said Daniel Brandon, 58, who voted in line with the Working Families Party's candidates picks, including Squadron, at a polling site on East 4th Street.
"Most of the time I vote because I'm trying to keep someone out of office."
Squadron's Senate District 25 includes the Lower East Side, parts of the East Village, Chinatown, Little Italy the Financial District, TriBeCa, SoHo and Battery Park City.