By Charles Sercombe
Well, it’s been a couple days since Tuesday’s Primary Election and the dust has settled.
For those who haven’t heard, the results came as a huge surprise to those who follow elections around here.
Despite the recent dominance of the Bangladeshi-American voting bloc, only two out of five Bengali candidates for City Council made it to the top six vote-getters, and they didn’t even make the top three.
Incumbent candidate Cathie Ladzinski Gordon finished on top with 552 votes.
The top six vote-getters, in order, are as follows:
Cathie Ladzinski Gordon: 552
Robert A. Zwolak: 488
Abdul A. Algazali: 481
Anam Miah: 345
Dilshad Chowdhury: 340
Steve Shaya: 278
The remaining results are as follows:
Ian Perrotta: 216
Mohamed Delawar Hussain: 209
Abu Mahfuz: 160
Richard Fabiszak: 140
Susan Dunn-Rahdar: 128
Showkat Chowdhury: 120
Roger A. Lamm: 103
The total number of votes cast was 1,486, which is considered a light turnout for a Primary Election.
This election was likely off the radar of many potential voters because the only issue on the ballot was the council race. Some said that there were fewer Muslim voters because Tuesday was the second day of Ramadan.
It was also a hot and muggy day, with temperatures near 90 degrees.
The November election usually attracts about 3,000 voters. That could mean a significant shift in how the top six vote-getters candidates will finish in the election.
The top three vote-getters in the November election will sit on council.
So … what happened to the Bengali candidates? The leading theory is that there were simply too many of them. That resulted in splitting the votes and working against them.
But with the number of candidates now whittled down, you can expect a flip-flop in who finishes in the top three positions.
It also appeared that former Councilmember Abdul Algazali finished third thanks largely to his supporters plunking solely for him. If that’s the case, Algazali may have reached his maximum number of supporters, or at least close to that.
Algazali also did his best in the Arabic part of town on the city’s southend. Algazali is a Yemeni-American.
No one expected Gordon to finish in first place, nor Zwolak, a former councilmember, to finish in second place.
Gordon conceded the results in this election are deceiving. She said she knows the November election will tighten up. Although she was appreciative of finishing in first place, Gordon said the campaign was disheartening.
“I have never felt there was any type of bigotry in this community,” she said. “Now I wonder why I feel the opposite in this city.”
Gordon said it’s clear to her that the Bangladeshi and Muslim communities are voting along ethnic and religious lines, not on who is best qualified to hold office.
She said it’s up to elected officials to step up and address this issue. Just how she plans to do that is not clear.
Gordon also questioned how some candidates can claim with the Wayne County Election Division that their campaign committees spent less than $1,000 leading up to the Primary.
If a candidate claims he or she spent less than $1,000, they are excused from having to submit a detailed expense report.
Gordon said the number of signs some candidates displayed is proof enough they spent over $1,000.
The Review will report next week on which candidates submitted campaign financial reports and who didn’t. Also, we’ll answer the question: Just where do campaign donations go?