36TH DISTRICT CITY COUNCIL RACE Robert Cornegy to succeed Al Vann in City Council representing Bed-Stuy
Foy concedes after Board of Elections certifies 68-vote win
By Stephen Witt
Robert Cornegy, Jr. was certified the winner of the 36th District City Council Democratic Primary last Friday, all but assuring that he will succeed his term-limited mentor Al Vann and represent Bedford-Stuyvesant and parts of Crown Heights at City Hall next year.
The Board of Elections certification came more than three weeks after the primary. Over 14,000 votes were cast in the four-person race, and Cornegy edged out second-place finisher Kirsten John Foy by 68 votes.
“I’m overwhelmed and honored,” Cornegy told supporters. “We overcame insurmountable odds. We didn’t hire strategists. Our genius and supporters came right here from the community. The power was not in the money. It was in the vote.”
The race turned increasingly nasty towards Primary Day with the high-powered Real Estate Board of New York pumping in over $300,000 for Foy in independent expenditures. This included a series of negative mailings and paying for people to canvas the neighborhood on behalf of Foy.
Foy’s campaign characterized the results of the close election as being hampered by irregularities, many of which was the result of the BOE using outdated voting machines and not doing an effective job of letting voters know about closures of longtime polling places.
But Foy opted for conceding rather than take the election to court after sleeping on it over the weekend.
“I have decided not to move forward with a legal challenge to address Board of Elections irregularities and to ensure every vote is counted in this race,” said Foy in a statement. “While I still feel strongly that every eligible voter who came out to cast a ballot should have their vote counted – and not thrown out because of a mistake by the Board of Elections – the resources required to pursue such legal recourse makes the endeavor prohibitive.”
Cornegy said that Foy called to concede the election to him on Monday. “Foy’s attorney called my attorney as well and said the matter won’t be pursued in the courts,” said Cornegy.
Vann, speaking at last Saturday’s Vanguard Independent Democratic Association (VIDA) club, said Cornegy weathered a perfect political storm in which a lot of money and several unions were backing Foy to beat not only Cornegy, but two other credible community candidates – Rev. Robert Waterman and Rev. Conrad Tillard.
“We had a great candidate, a great campaign and a great community,” said Vann. “Money makes a difference but it failed to understand the legacy established in our community.”
Cornegy said he looks forward to representing the community in the City Council. He also gave a special thanks to this newspaper, which did not endorse a candidate in the election.
“Community newspapers are in a unique position to quickly and efficiently disseminate local news, and Our Time Press was a timely and reliable news source for voters of the area,” he said.