Republican challenger Mark Szuszkiewicz and freshman incumbent Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Sea Gate) in the 46th Assembly District are still neck and neck as the Board of Elections (BOE) wraps up the second day of tallying ballots, with Frontus clinging to a narrow lead.
According to sources, 900 ballots are currently in dispute with Republican leadership refusing to back down so far.
“We’re not conceding anything and we plan on taking it to court and beyond,” said Szuszkiewicz’s campaign manager Liam McCabe.
They are claiming, on legal grounds, that there are duplicate problems with the ballots and multiple ballots have the same signatures according to forensic lawyers, said a GOP source.
The source also said that there are 100 absentees, over 400 affidavits, and about 400 challenged ballots the party is contesting.
The source said because of instances where signatures didn’t match or misprints with envelopes, and the new ‘curing’ processes, there will definitely be objections in court, especially since a one percent margin triggers an automatic recount by law.
“Mark pulled off an unprecedented feat in Coney Island,” said McCabe. He said that a Republican hadn’t won this seat in the neighborhood in like 100 years.
“These things tend to go up and down, but we’re going to keep fighting because the stakes could not be higher,” said McCabe.
McCabe said that he had no intention of giving up, referencing the special election of 2012 in which Republican David Storobin defeated Democrat Lewis Fidler by just 13 votes in the State Senate District 27 race. Storobin had 11,097 votes to Fidler’s 11,084 votes. The ridiculously close race lingered in courts and recounts for months with Fidler finally conceding the election to Storobin on May 31.
McCabe went on to directly address the “nasty post-election” QAnon associations. He said that Szuszkiewicz never endorsed anything in the conspiracy theory realm and only used hashtags and retweets as a means to “starting conversation” online. McCabe said that Democrats were “embarrassed” by the loss.
Meanwhile, as of Tuesday, Frontus’ campaign manager Joe Herrera claimed an early lead of just under 400 votes. However, he said at the counting site that ballots were hand-counted but needed to be scanned and officially certified.
Herrera said that Frontus is a woman of color in a primarily white district. “She doesn’t take orders from her party or anybody, she gets it from the people,” said Herrera.
Josh Pesin, a special education teacher from Bath Beach, recalled handing out PPE resources with Frontus and her team during the COVID-19 lockdown. Pesin said that he was genuinely surprised by Szuszkiewicz “coming out of the woodwork” in the race. He said he believes that the immigrant Russian demographic in her district were scared off by the socialist rhetoric this year because of their history with communist regimes.
Frontus’ and Szuszkiewicz’s groups weren’t the only ones camped out at the ballot counting site, in it for the long haul.
Republicans and Democrats in the 22nd Senatorial District, with Republican challenger Vito Bruno and incumbent Democratic State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D- Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Marine Park) are in a similar situation. Both groups have concluded that the count won’t be finalized until Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest.
Sources said that Gounardes is trailing by about 1,200 votes with ballots counted, but affidavits and neighborhoods such as Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Midwood, Kings Highway, Marine Park, and Gerritsen Beach haven’t been officiated yet.