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Monday, November 13, 2006

Kiryas Joel Block

Last week, I posted about NY GOP Representative Sue Kelly, and her election day tactics. Apparently, in a last-ditch election day robocall, she was claiming that her opponent was pandering to the Chassidic neighborhood of Kiryas Joel (long a recognized voting block) by promising them a water pipeline, and that, in the words of the ad, "Sue Kelly said no".

So it was interesting to read Ben Smith's column in today's NYDN. He analyzes what caused Kelly's unexpected loss, by only 2%, to her opponent, John Hall. Apparently, her voting record caught the attention of a politically active gay constituent, Adam Rose, when she voted for an amendment that would ban gay marriage, and he took on the task of helping her get voted out of office.

When Rose gave Kelly a chance to explain herself for voting down the gay marriage amendment, this was what she told him:
She told him she had backed the amendment in part because of the scruples of her Orthodox Jewish constituents in the enclave of Kiryas Joel.
Fascinating. So in the end, though Kelly claims to have voted against gay marriage to pander to her Chassidic constituency, according to Ben's article, that may have lost her the election. Which is particularly interesting considering that last Tuesday, the Kiryas Joel community voted against Sue Kelly in almost a complete bloc, and the pipeline is mentioned as another potential deciding factor.

Whichever way you slice it, the Chassidic community of Kiryas Joel has clearly figured prominently into their local politics, and their votes are hotly contested and competed for. It's unbelievable to see a voting block wield its power so skillfully in order to get the village what it needs.


Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

Another sign of the decline of the generations, in the old days the honor of the politician (or the interest group) was to stay bought.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is this so unbelievable, did the school board election not resemble a voting block? We're not so far away from Kiryas Joel...

8:50 AM  

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