New York's 8th Congressional District elections, 2012
November 6, 2012
June 26, 2012
Candidates wishing to run were required to file by the signature filing deadline April 16, 2012. On January 27, 2012, Judge Gary Sharpe moved the primary date from September 11, 2012 to June 26, 2012 in order to allow for sufficient time to send absentee ballots to military voters.
New York is one of eight states that have "electoral fusion" -- which allows more than one political party to support a common candidate. This creates a situation where one candidate will appear multiple times on the same ballot, for the same position. Electoral fusion was once widespread across the United States, but is now commonly practiced only in New York.
Opponents of fusion voting argue that the process results in dealmarking to ensure that patronage is rampant. Proponents maintain that fusion voting allows for minor parties to actually make a difference during the election, allowing voters the opportunity to vote for a minority party platform but still affect the general election result.
Candidates appearing in the general election will be listed below with colored dots corresponding to any party they will represent on the ballot.
General election candidates
June 26, 2012 primary results
With Ed Towns (D) retiring, Brooklyn councilman Charles Barron and state Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries are seeking the party nod in the June 26 Democratic primary. The winner will face Alan Bellone in the November general election, but the 8th is heavily Democratic, so the winner of the Democratic primary will likely be the next 8th district representative.
Barron has fought back from a fundraising disadvantage and gained an endorsement from the state's largest public employees union, as well as the nod from the retiring incumbent, Ed Towns. This worries many Democrats, as Barron is a controversial figure prone to outspoken comments. A former Black Panther, Barron has expressed a desire to "go up to the closest white person and... slap him," and has said Israel is "the world's greatest terrorist." These and other similar comments have the Democratic establishment worried about Barron's potential to alienate people on the national scale.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), among others, has denounced Barron's "anti-Israel" stance.
On the issues, the two candidates have some variance. Jeffries worked to legalize same-sex marriage at the state level, while Barron opposes gay marriage. And in contrast to Barron's stated views on Israel, Jeffries has visited Israel as part of a community relations group.
Barron unabashedly sticks to his statements, even if they are viewed as alienating and controversial. Despite his abrasive remarks, however, he is admitted by many to be charming. Jeffries takes an opposite approach seeking to unite a broad range of people. Rep. Yvette Clarke, among others, sees Jeffries as a rising star.
But in a primary race with anticipated low voter turnout, union support may be the deciding factor. The AFSCME local DC37, the state's largest public employee union, has thrown their weight behind Barron. Jeffries has gathered endorsements from smaller unions, but all in all, the race is much closer than the Democratic establishment would like.
Impact of redistricting
- See also: Redistricting in New York
Following the results of the 2010 Census, New York lost two congressional seats, bringing its total number of representatives down from 29 to 27. According to a report in the Washington Post political blog "The Fix," New York was one of the top 10 redistricting battles in the nation.
|U.S. House, New York Congressional District 8 General Election, 2010|
|Democratic||Jerrold Nadler Incumbent||69.1%||98,839|
|Republican||Susan L. Kone||22.4%||31,996|
- United States House of Representatives elections in New York, 2012
- United States House of Representatives elections, 2012
- United States Senate elections in New York, 2012
- New York Times "Judge Moves Congressional Primary Date to June," January 27, 2012
- Electoral fusion ruins elections
- Working Family Party: Fusion voting
- Brooklyn Papers "Barron makes the fight against Rep. Ed Towns a three-way," accessed December 22, 2011
- Roll Call "New York: Edolphus Towns Retiring After 15 Terms," April 15, 2012
- New York Board of Elections "List of Filings for June 26, 2012 Federal Primary," accessed May 30, 2012
- Sabato Crystal Ball "2012 House Ratings," June 13, 2012
- Fox News "Democrats Nervous About Possible Towns' Sucessor," June 15, 2012
- New York Times "In Brooklyn, a Longtime Provocateur Surges in a Primary Race for Congress," June 15, 2012
- Politico "Gillibrand rebukes Charles Barron," June 15, 2012
- Washington Post, "The Fix," "Redistricting battles hit a fever pitch," June 3, 2011
- U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"