Patrick Bobilin won NYS 76th Assembly District hearts, but you won’t find him on the ballot. An incumbent imports outside influence and money, lots of it, blocking constituents’ right to vote for the person of their choice.
By David Stone
In late June, we reported, “Yesterday, New York State’s 76th Assembly District race heated up as Patrick Bobilin entered as an independent progressive candidate.”
But his candidacy brought out the worst competitive instincts from incumbent assembly member Rebecca Seawright. Her supporters attacked a fellow Democrat in court and even on street corners while collecting signatures.
Hearts If Not Ballots
As we reported last week, financial disclosures for the most recent period showed the incumbent, who failed to qualified as a Democrat in this election, leaned heavily on outside support. Less than 10% of her contributions came from 76th Assembly District sources.
But comparing her numbers to Bobilin’s was even more eye-opening.
The community activist was endorsed by the Black Lives Caucus but has never held public office. And in a campaign started only in June, he still registered 186 individual donors compared to Seawright’s 58.
But Bobilin’s dominance within the 76th Assembly District, identified by zip code, was more pronounced. He reports 58 individual donors while Seawright reported only 17… after six years in office.
Money Wins, Not Voters
Cash infusions, well over $100,00, flooded the incumbent’s bank account while local contributors were scarce, calling into question outside influence relative to local commitment.
But it’s what she did with some of the money that’s most shocking.
Seawright paid out more than $15,000 to attorney Stanley Schlein, a so-called “Bronx fixer” associated with the Albany political machine, compensation for kicking competitors off the November ballot on technical grounds.
When she lost her claim to both the Democratic and Working Families party lines, Seawright denounced such tactics as “Soviet-style.”
She accused Republicans of disenfranchising voters.
But when the shoe was on the other foot, voters didn’t matter because money did for an entrenched politician.
Seawright won the court battle, but Bobilin makes a legitimate claim for the hearts of 76th Assembly District Democratic voters.
However, thanks to the incumbent, they will not have an opportunity to vote their choice in this election.
End of Update
“On the way to the board of elections with about 4,000 signatures,” Patrick Bobilin told the Roosevelt Island Daily/News, in June.
That was far more than enough to qualify for the November ballot, challenging incumbent Rebecca Seawright and Lou Puliafito. With the help of local clubs and other mainstream politicians, the incumbent also submitted petitions, this week.
Puliafito, uncontested on the Republican line, is the only major party candidate on the ballot.
About Patrick Bobilin, 76th Assembly District Candidate
“I felt that we needed new leadership from the people who presided over the district. The people who got us into these problems can’t get us out of these problems,” Bobilin told Patch.
Like Puliafito, who also sounds the alarm for new leadership, Bobilin is a relative newcomer.
Three years ago, he ran against Ben Kallos in a primary for the Common Council. He came in third, but he cites all he learned and supporters found in the effort.
A former public school teacher, Bobilin most recently led Gracie Mansion sit-ins protesting police abuse, following the murder of George Floyd.
But his progressive roots are deep, and personal experience informs his passions.
Growing Up In An Unequal New York
“My mother juggled 60-hour weeks of low-wage work and died in her 40s because she never had adequate healthcare,” he says on his website.
“My father was born in Puerto Rico, and I watched him battle so much of the racism that New Yorkers still deal with today.”
He adds, “Creative and empathetic solutions must come from the people who have experienced these problems.”
That history birthed a full-throttle progressive determined to make waves from a perch in the 76th Assembly District. That covers the UES east of Third Avenue, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island.
Forward Looking Values
In seeking the NYS 76th Assembly District seat, Bobilin firmly positions himself on standards championed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Among other positions, he supports the job guarantees in The Green New Deal.
He supports universal rent control, and that means for both businesses and homes.
And in a challenge to the lip service normally ballooning campaigns and blowing away after November, Bobilin wants fully funded public schools.
Not intimidated by giant obstacles, he favors a sensical, but difficult boost to public transit with a fare free MTA. And he wants utilities, the gas and electric vital to us, publicly owned.
Conclusion: Bobilin 76th Assembly District Race
Patrick Bobilin’s quest for New York’s 76th Assembly District seat features ideas suddenly surging into the mainstream. His commitment to change is well-founded.
Clearly progressive policies in his campaign spark the contest as it brings to three the number of truly unique philosophies flavoring the race.