O’Donnell remains — Assembly District 69 results

Source: New York State Board of Elections. Credit: Sangsuk Sylvia Kang/The North Polls

By Abigail Morris

Assemblymen Daniel O’Donnell, 55, fended off competition tonight from political newcomer Steven Appel, 31, and held on to his District 69 seat in Albany.

O’Donnell, who has been in office since he was elected in 2002, received 73.3 percent of the vote, according to the New York State Board of Elections.

O’Donnell had not responded to a request to comment by the time of publication.

His competitor Steven Appel received 19.9 percent of the vote. Appel said, “I am deeply grateful to my beloved family and friends for their extraordinary support over the course of this campaign.

“I am very proud of the campaign we ran and I could not have done it without them. I am also honored to have earned the votes of so many members of our community here in the 69th Assembly District. We will continue to fight for a more innovative and unifying politics.”

Almost 6 percent of votes were left blank and of the almost 60,000 active enrolled Democrats in the district, only 9,501 voted in the primary.

O’Donnell will next be on the ballot for the general election on Nov. 8. He will face Republican Stephen Garrin, who ran unopposed in the primaries.


Candidates out and about on election day

By Louis Baudoin-Laarman, Summer Meza, Danielle Prager, Somayeh Malekian, Allana Haynes, Abigail Morris

Above: Democrat incumbent O’Donnell of AD69 is campaigning for the primary by greeting people outside PS165. Credit: Somayeh Malekian/The North Polls

Above: Steven Appel’s message to residents after casting his vote at Grace United Methodist Church in AD69. Credit: Abigail Morris/The North Polls

De La Rosa shares platform with members of the community. Credit: Allana Haynes/The North Polls
De La Rosa hands out campaign fliers to passersby on Sherman Avenue. Credit: Allana Haynes/The North Polls
De La Rosa encourages the community to vote on election day. Credit: Allana Haynes/The North Polls
De La Rosa receives support from her biggest fan, her father. Credit: Allana Haynes/The North Polls

Sun Rises. People Vote.

By Abigail Morris

Who’s out on the streets at 6am in Morningside Heights? The dedicated jogger, a crew of garbagemen and the early bird voters in the state primary elections.

Polling station PS 165 on West 109th Street

Irene Pavitt, 71, is the first person to cast her vote this morning because “it’s less crowded and I’m sure to do it even if things alter the day.”

35-year-old Rebecca Fondren agreed, “I go to the gym and to work and I don’t like long queues.”

While the majority of legislative seats are held by longstanding incumbents with no challengers, Morningside Heights residents can vote today in two contested races: the Democratic primaries  for Assembly District 69 and Senate District 31.

For residents like lawyer Brett Clements, 32, voting early is a habit, “When I was growing up my parents always voted before they took me to school.”

At 6:30am, the sun is rising and more voters start trickling in. Many with full time jobs feel that if they don’t vote now, they won’t be able to vote at all.  “I wanted to do it before I go to work,” said attorney Mark Lehrman, 54, “so if I get held up, I don’t risk missing the opportunity to vote.”

Policy Analyst, David Saltonstall, 56, echoed this. “I think my day’s only going to get busier.”

By 7am there’s a steady stream of residents. Most are heading off to work, but Prudence Brown, 68, a consultant in urban poverty, is carrying a suitcase because she’s heading off to Milwaukee. She was joined by Paul Stetzer, 71, a retired teacher who might not have come so early. “She woke me up,” he explained.

O’Donnell seeks 8th term in Assembly

Daniel O’Donnell faces a challenge in Tuesday’s primary. Credit: Jessie Shi/The North Polls

By Jessie Shi

Daniel O’Donnell, 55, the first openly gay man elected to the New York State Assembly, is running for reelection to District 69, where he has served as the assemblyman for 14 years.

The district covers Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights and the Upper West Side.

He faces a primary challenge Tuesday from Steven Appel, senior manager of communications and events at Working In Support of Education, a non-profit that promotes financial literacy.

During his terms, O’Donnell has promoted progressive legislation, including the Marriage Equality Act in 2011 that gave same-sex couples rights equal those enjoyed by opposite-sex couples. He lives with his husband, John Banta, in Morningside Heights.

“I believe my neighborhood deserves representation from somebody who’s from it and somebody who knows it, and I’m sure that’s me,” O’Donnell said in an interview Thursday.

O’Donnell has raised $94,682 through Sept. 12, according to the state Board of Elections.

Campaign Platform
— Equal rights for all couples
— Protecting all public students from bullying
— Ending sexual harassment for all, including unpaid interns
— Holding prisons accountable through independent Ombudsman oversight
— Preserving the landscape of Morningside Heights Historic District