Borough President Markowitz is a shoo-in for a third term — yet the powerful beep isn’t taking any chances, moving this week to knock his virtually unknown Democratic challenger off the ballot.
The challenger, Eugene Myrick, handed in just a few dozen more signatures than the 4,000 needed to secure a spot on the Sept. 15 primary ballot. Typically, candidates submit twice as many signatures as required in order to ward off challenges to the validity of the John Hancocks.
Three people — one of them, Debra Kresh-Garcia, a close ally of Markowitz — filed general objections to Myrick’s signatures hours after he handed them in last week.
Kresh-Garcia is the director of Markowitz’s annual Seaside Summer Concert Series and a contributor to Markowitz’s re-election, having sent a $175 check to the campaign earlier this year. After several calls and e-mail seeking comment, Kresh-Garcia wrote back only, “No comment.”
Markowitz’s re-election office did not offer a comment either.
“It’s ridiculous that someone would challenge a virtually unknown newcomer,” said Myrick. “Why not let the democratic process play itself out with campaigning, debates and allowing the people to vote. What are they afraid of?”
Myrick wondered why Markowitz would bother to challenge his candidacy, given that it has received virtually no notice so far and he has not emerged as a legitimate threat to Markowitz’s expected landslide. Indeed, after the City Council repealed the two-term limit earlier this year, several better-known borough-presidential hopefuls immediately withdrew rather than challenge the popular Markowitz.
The Markowitz campaign is merely “trying to prevent me from focusing on campaigning,” said Myrick, who publishes “Chocolate Brides Magazine” with his wife, radio personality Kesha Monk.
And when he’s campaigning, the 37-year-old political neophyte is talking about a few key issues:
• Atlantic Yards — he’s against it (unlike Markowitz).
• Gay marriage — he’s for it (but so is Markowitz).
• Education — “The current Department of Education continues to place numbers and statistics over students,” he said.
• Ending the police department’s “stop and frisk” policy.
• Kicking butt — “Making phone calls and writing letters are not enough to interest elected officials with the issues they are supposed to address,” he wrote on his campaign Web site. “If our politicians are not willing to do their jobs, then it’s time for us to take these jobs from them.”
Markowitz’s campaign says it handed in close to 78,000 signatures. Kresh-Garcia and the two other challengers — Sandra Purpura and former NYPD Intelligence Division Commander of Detectives Caliph Mathis — have until Monday to file a specific challenge to Myrick’s signatures. If they don’t, Myrick will likely get on the ballot, said a spokeswoman for the Board of Elections.
Mathis did not return calls. Purpura could not be reached.
If Myrick does the unexpected — retain a place on the ballot and then beat Markowitz — he would face Republican Marc D’Ottavio in the general election in November.