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New Yorkers 'Not Looking for Perfection' in Voting for de Blasio

By DNAinfo Staff | September 12, 2017 11:55am | Updated on September 12, 2017 1:30pm
 A pair of voters cast their ballots at a polling site on Graham Avenue in East Williamsburg.
A pair of voters cast their ballots at a polling site on Graham Avenue in East Williamsburg.
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DNAinfo/Gwynne Hogan

NEW YORK CITY — New Yorkers headed to the polls Tuesday morning to cast their votes in a handful of primary elections — many whom cast their ballots for incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio, despite less-than-enthusiastic endorsements of hizzoner.

In the Democratic mayoral primary, de Blasio faces his biggest challenge from former city councilman Sal Albanese, who has criticized his opponent on issues ranging from homelessness to affordable housing in the city.

But many voters chose to stick with the mayor, saying "he's done the best that he could." 

Even Michel Gohler, a 59-year-old Astoria-based musician who voted for long-shot Democratic challenger Mike Tolkin, said he would "be fine if de Blasio won." 

"I don't feel strongly — it was a pretty soft vote," he said, adding that he showed up to fulfill his civic duty. 

East Williamsburg voters Victor Fussalba, 75, and his wife Alida Fussalba, 74, gave the mayor credit for his first-term accomplishments.

“He’s a good mayor. He’s helped out many Hispanics, poor people,” Victor said.

“He’s helped out the children,” added Alida, who praised the mayor’s rollout of universal pre-K.

Sunset Park resident Lynn Koehler, who works for the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition in Red Hook, said she cast her vote for the mayor at P.S. 506, despite him "making nice to those in real estate and with money."

"I think de Blasio deserves another chance," she explained. "I'm not impressed with him, but he deserves another chance." 

Leigh Ann Bridges, 34, who voted for de Blasio in Astoria, said she felt the current mayor had the best chance of defeating his Republican rivals in the general election, adding that President Donald Trump's win against opponent Hillary Clinton was a "wakeup call" highlighting the importance of voting. 

A number of New Yorkers voted at new polling sites Tuesday morning, as many of the city’s polling locations have changed since last year.

LeFrak City resident Ernestine McKayle, 87, said it was hard to get to her site at P.S. 13 using her walker.

Residents at the Queens housing complex recently sued the Board of Elections claiming the relocation of their site would disenfranchise elderly, disabled and minority voters.

“I see why the people were raising so much hell — I’m familiar with the area, but it’s a mess,” McKayle said.

McKayle voted for de Blasio, despite criticism from his opponents.

“Listen, I’ve lived a long time. You can’t please everyone,” she explained. “I’m not looking for perfection.”

In East Elmhurst, voters were deciding between City Council candidates Hiram Monserrate — who was previously sentenced to federal prison for fraud and removed from the state senate for assaulting his girlfriend — and Assemblyman Francisco Moya.

M. Matthews, 64, who declined to give her first name, said she cast her vote for Moya at P.S. 13.

“I’m very familiar with [Monserrate’s] past and his record, so that didn’t take a lot of persuasion,” she said.

Matthews also cast her ballot for de Blasio.

"New York is tough," she said. "And I think he's done the best that he could."

In North Brooklyn, Grand Street Campus high school assistant principal Tommy Torres, who is running against incumbent Councilman Antonio Reynoso, secured the vote of actor Chris Roberti, 38.

“I saw him at the subway,” Roberti said, admitting he didn’t know much about either candidate.

He also threw his support behind de Blasio.

“I know that he’s for affordable housing, police reform,”he said. “I feel like he’s been good on that. I like him a lot.”