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Sheldon Silver Allies Appear to Have Won Judicial Delegate Contest (Updated)

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We were keeping an eye on yesterday’s Democratic Primary, where a group of Lower East Side activists challenged Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s political organization in an obscure contest for judicial delegates.

The delegates, in this case elected in the 65th Assembly District, select candidates to run for state Supreme Court. Among the contenders was Judy Rapfogel, Silver’s longtime chief of staff.  Paul Newell, a vocal critic of the Assemblyman, ran a so-called “reform” slate, highlighting Silver’s federal indictment on corruption charges.

According to the latest records from the state Board of Elections, their challenge failed. Here’s a look at the results, with 93 of 96 election districts reporting:

  • Virginia Kee – 1374 votes
  • Aixa Torres – 1212 votes
  • Mark Stein – 1121 votes
  • Pedro Cardi – 1120 votes
  • Judy Rapfogel – 1035 votes
  • Wei-Li Tjong – 985 votes
  • Joyce Brody Skodnek – 823 votes
  • Joseph Kelly – 789 votes
  • Paul Newell – 752 votes
  • Ayo Harrington – 724 votes

The top five candidates, all members of the Truman Democratic Club slate (that’s Silver’s organization), appear to have won the Primary Election. Meanwhile, here are the results in the contest for alternate delegates. The Truman Club slate also came out on top in this election:

  • Justin Yu – 1289 votes
  • Jenny Low – 1270 votes
  • Carmen Castro – 1133 votes
  • Karen Blatt – 1066 votes
  • Gary Altman – 1048 votes
  • Nancy Chambers – 774 votes
  • Georgette Fleischer – 709 votes
  • Sara Romanoski – 696 votes
  • Sidney Baumgarten – 681 votes
  • Steven Gradman – 660 votes

The Post yesterday endorsed the alternative slate, blasting what the tabloid’s editorial board called a political ploy that would “let Silver influence the courts, even from a jail cell.”

UPDATE 4:20 p.m. Here’s a statement we received this afternoon from Karen Blatt, a district leader:

The Truman Club along with UDO (United Democrat Organization) and LES Democrats scored a perfect 10 on election day with all 10 candidates taking victory according to the Board of Elections count. Despite facing an incredibly negative campaign and our opponents receiving the support of the right-winged conservative New York Post, the voters in the end, chose who would best represent them in Lower Manhattan. I want to thank all of the voters in Lower Manhattan who came out to the polls on a rainy day for supporting democracy and we look forward to working with all of you on the issues facing our communities.

UPDATE 9/12 And now here’s a statement from Sean Sweeney of Downtown Independent Democrats:

Is Karen Blatt delusional, or does she just perform poorly in Reading Comprehension? There was nothing “negative” in Downtown Independent Democrats’ mailing regarding the election of judicial delegates. Absolutely nothing. I challenge Ms. Blatt to explain to your readers what  was negative, or else she should be quiet and not make a further fool of herself. Attached is the mailing in question. What does Ms. Blatt object to?  This:  You don’t want a delegate who is told how to vote by political leaders, as happens too often downtown? Does Blatt actually deny this happens on a regular basis in our district? Both slates ran a positive campaign.  No other club or personality complained except the political newbie, Karen Blatt. Downtown Independent Democrats only has 30% of the 65th Assembly District allocated to it, yet it won 41% of the vote. That hardly sounds like defeat to any reasonable person. Nevertheless, D.I.D. would love to work with Ms. Blatt in the future to engage freely and openly in the selection of sound judges for our courts. Will she accept our amicable offer?


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  1. Sadly, not surprising. Silver’s natural base does what it’s told and turns out en masse. Any opposing slate needs to get the point across that the favors Silver and his crew give themselves are paid for by everyone else. It sure seems to me that several of the Truman club people are living way above their “pay grade” and/or have patronage jobs way above their skill sets. This will end, of course, in the next few years…but the sooner the better.

  2. It is another sad day in LES politics. Silver, who is about to go on trial for fraud and bribery charges in Nov, eeks out another win with the help of his political allies/cronies: UDO brings out the Chinese vote, Aixa Torres delivers Smith Houses and NYCHA, and then you have the Truman Club / CB3 members delivering Grand Street.

    It is disgusting that Judy Rapfogel will be choosing judges along with rest of Silver cronies. Her husband is in jail for embezzling 4M dollars from the not-for-profit Met Council (heavily funded by Silver) and she is Silver’s chief of staff. Are we really to believe she is squeaky clean in the company of these two men?

    No, Ms, Blatt, the voters did not choose who would best represent them. The sheeple came out and did what they were told allowing the long practice of misrepresentation and corruption to live on in Shelly’s district.

    The Reform slate may not have won but they give hope that there is a strong faction building and slowly chipping away at the walls of corruption.

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