Another one rides the bus: Local Dems drove vote in contested distric

Vote Blue 2018 members on Sept. 15 in New Jersey, where they door-knocked for Democratic candidate Andy Kim. Photos by Erik Bottcher

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Downtowners didn’t have competitive races on the ballot in their districts this election cycle. So local politicos went to where the action was — whether elsewhere in the state or out of state.

Starting on Sept. 15, members of an effort called Vote Blue 2018 chartered Greyhound buses on weekends and, leaving from Union Square, they went to campaign for Democrats in key races in the metro area.

Charles Fernandez, a Penn South resident and a member of the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club, motoring out to one of the contested congressional districts.

They targeted Districts 1, 2 and 19 in New York State. G.O.P. Congressmembers Lee Zeldin and Peter King ultimately hung onto the first two districts, which are both on Long Island. But in the Hudson Valley’s District 19, Antonio Delgado toppled incumbent Republican Representative John Faso.

The Vote Blue 2018 members out in Suffolk County on Long Island, where they door-knocked for Perry Gershon versus G.O.P. incumbent Lee Zeldin. Zeldin ultimately was able to fend off Gershon’s challenge.

The activists also bused it out to two districts in New Jersey and even one in Pennsylvania. They targeted competitive races within two hours’ drive of New York City.

The districts to focus on were identified by Congressmember Jerrold Nadler.

All told, volunteers forayed out of the city in from 15 to 20 buses during the effort. Over the final “Get Out the Vote Weekend” alone, there were five buses carrying a total of 250 volunteers. The goal of the door-knocking drive was to make sure that Democrats got out to the polls on Election Day.

The goal of the door-knocking drive was to make sure that Democrats got out to the polls on Election Day.

Key organizers included Erik Bottcher, Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s chief of staff; Tony Hoffmann and Yayoi Tsuchitani, a former president and a member, respectively, of Village Independent Democrats; Kate Linker, of Greater New York City for Change, and Hell’s Kitchen Democrats.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson up in a rural part of the Hudson Valley’s District 19 last weekend, where he helped get out the vote for Antonio Delgado, who unseated Republican incumbent John Faso on Nov. 6.

They just kept on trucking (technically, busing) for Democrats in six districts outside of New York City.

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