By Charles Sercombe
Last week’s election may be over, but it’s still the talk of town.
And the word in town is of amazement – or shock – over how the three Bengali council candidates garnered the most votes.
And also to the surprise of the town’s longtime political observers is how well Councilmember Abdul Algazali did in his bid for mayor. He finished less than 200 votes behind Mayor Karen Majewski and stands a good chance of pulling off an upset in the Nov. 3 General Election.
What appears to have happened in this election is that the Bengali and Yemeni communities came out in force to vote along ethnic and religious lines.
Now, the speculation is, just how deep does that voting bloc go? The turnout for the Primary Election on Tuesday was unheard of – over 2,400 voters. In most November elections, about 3,000 voters come out.
So, the speculation further goes, do the Bengali and Yemeni communities have more voters it can turn out in November? As we said last week, this election was historical on a number of levels. The November election has the potential to bring on even more surprises.
So, just who are these voters? They aren’t new voters. According to the City Clerk’s Office, only 114 new voters registered to vote since the last Presidential Election. Only a handful had Arabic or Muslim names.
The Review has requested the Clerk’s Office to compile a record of how many voters changed their address to Hamtramck in the months leading up to the election. If that proves insignificant, it’s likely the Bengali community, which far outnumbers the Yemeni community, truly rallied behind their candidates.
And there is no doubt the Bengali candidates campaigned hard.
Campaigning is what elections are all about and those who work the hardest usually are the ones rewarded for their effort.
The election results have also resulted in a certain amount of swagger among the winners and their supporters.
There have been rumors flying about how certain candidates are threatening city department heads and employees, promising jobs to friends and so on.
And like in other heated elections, the local paper has taken some hits.
Human Relations Commission Chairman Bill Meyer told Review Publisher John Ulaj that unless this paper offers space to the Bengali community to write their own stories, he and others will start another paper.