Congressman Bob Turner, a former television executive, almost had his U.S. Senate dreams canceled this afternoon — but ended up qualifying for the ballot due to a couple of highly fortuitous developments this morning.
After a long roll call vote, all three Republican candidates for U.S. Senate — Turner, Wendy Long and George Maragos — qualified for the GOP primary ballot on the first vote. Long got a comfortable 47.37 percent of the vote. Her two opponents both needed more than 25 percent to qualify, and both barely did; Maragos got 27.36 percent, and Turner got 25.28 percent.
If the fourth candidate, Joe Carvin, hadn’t dropped out this morning, ceding the 5.28 percent of the vote he had lined up in Westchester, which eventually went to Turner, then Turner wouldn’t have hit the 25 percent threshold, at least on the first round. A source tells me the chairman of the Westchester GOP had never met Turner until today, and the county’s vote was uncertain.
Meanwhile, if Queens County hadn’t decided to unite behind Turner this morning, Turner most likely also wouldn’t have gotten to 25 percent either, since that borough controls 4.1 percent of the weighted vote.
(Of course, it’s always possible that counties could have changed their vote to allow Turner on the ballot during a second round of voting, if he was close to qualifying; Turner’s camp saw this possibility as likely.)
Westchester and Suffolk Counties, two major players, both passed on initially voting for a candidates, as other counties cast their lot, saving their announcements for the very end. Only by finally getting Suffolk’s 9.3 percent did Maragos get on the ballot; only by getting Westchester did Turner qualify.
After all the drama, all of this sets up a three-way primary to take on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand that prove could quite contentious.
“Thou shall follow Reagan’s 11th commandment — thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican,” said Republican chairman Ed Cox optimistically, ending the convention, as confetti was shot into the air.
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