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No secret here: The blockbuster race of tomorrow’s primary will be the Republican at-large showdown between incumbent Carol Schwartz and young upstart Patrick Mara. It’s a blockbuster primarily because no one in town has any clue what’s going to happen. For instance, even with tens of thousands of dollars being spent on mailers and phone calls, how many of the city’s 29,622 registered Republican voters will bother showing up tomorrow? If history is any guide, 10 percent will be a very strong showing.
In the absence of any good intelligence, LL decided to put it to the pros—-those who have won elections in this town, albeit not Republican ones.
Yesterday, LL swung by the Forest Hills home of Ward 3 Councilmember Mary M. Cheh, who hosted a rally for At-Large Councilmember Kwame R. Brown and his campaign volunteers. There he pressed Cheh, Brown, and other elected officials in attendance to make a prediction in this year’s most-watched primary race:
Cheh: “Everybody’s uncertain. It’s all about getting out the vote….I really don’t know.”
Brown: “To be honest with you, I have spent no energy on anyone’s campaign but mine.”
Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray: “I don’t know; it’s so close to call. I don’t want to make a prediction….I don’t think we’ll know until 9 p.m. Tuesday night.
Shadow Sen. Michael D. Brown: “I think Schwartz will clean his clock. Of course, I’m never right about this stuff. I picked Jimmy Carter [in 1980]. I think I even picked Mondale….Carol by five points, at least.”
Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss: “Carol, 60-40. I think the local Republicans who vote want someone who’s gonna win in November.”
As for the get-out-the-vote ops, Mara said Friday he was planning to spend his weekend canvassing and calling Republicans, in what he deemed a “a microtargeted election.”
“The issue I face,” he says, “is that Republican voters are not used to voting in a Republican primary….Whatever the record is [for turnout], we have a good shot at breaking it.”
Schwartz’s campaign chief, Kristan Higgins, said Friday her side’s effort this weekend were to have “the city painted yellow,” posting Schwartz campaign signs, particularly in GOP-rich areas in Wards 2 and 3. Signs that LL spotted yesterday pumped up Schwartz as “An Oldie and a Goodie!”
Schwartz’s schedule of public appearances this weekend took a hit, with two events she planned to hit getting rained out by Tropical Storm Hanna.
Higgins says phone banking will continue through Tuesday and that neighborhood volunteers would be knocking on Republican doors.
“Hopefully, with all the attention on the primary, everyone knows to get out and vote on Tuesday,” she says.