El-Yateem will file 2,850 petition signatures to get on ballot
Rev. Khader El-Yateem apparently isn’t taking any chances. A City Council candidate hoping to get his or her name on the ballot for the Sept. 12 primary is required by election law to submit at least 450 signatures from voters in the district who are registered in the candidate’s political party to the New York City Board of Elections.
El-Yateem said he plans to submit 2,850, more than six times the amount he would need to qualify for the ballot for the Democratic Primary in the 43rd Council District (CD).
The 43rd CD, currently represented by term-limited Democrat Vincent Gentile, includes parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst.
Candidates for public office often use New York’s arcane election laws to challenge the validity of opponents’ petition signatures to try and knock them off the ballot before the primary.
But El-Yateem’s ability to collect many more signatures than he would need would seem to protect him from that kind of encroachment.
El-Yateem, a Palestinian-American and a first-time candidate for public office, said he obtained the petition signatures through an all-volunteer grassroots effort involving more than 150 people and that he received no help of paid petitioners.
“This campaign has seen enormous grassroots support over the past month. I am humbled, and more motivated than ever,” El-Yateem said in a statement. “These signatures and this massive volunteer effort should send a clear signal that people in this district are finished with politics as usual, and are coming together not because of me, but to elect progressive leadership that is truly accountable to the entire district.”
El-Yateem, who is the pastor of the Salam Arabic Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge, would be the first Arab-American to be elected to the New York City Council.
He has been endorsed by the New Kings Democrats, the New York State Immigrant Action Fund and the NYC Democratic Socialists of America, the organization that backed Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
But El-Yateem is facing serious competition in the Sept. 12 primary from fellow Democrats Justin Brannan, chief of staff to Gentile; Kevin Peter Carroll, an aide to Councilmember Stephen Levin; and Nancy Tong, Democratic district leader of the 47th Assembly District (Gravesend-parts of Bensonhurst).
The Republican Party primary will also take place on Sept. 12. The candidates are Bob Capano, an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Liam McCabe, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan; and John Quaglione, deputy chief of staff to state Sen. Marty Golden.
The primary winners will face each in the general election in Nov. 7.
CORRECTION: Original version of article contained incorrect information on the number of petition signatures a candidate for City Council needs to get on the ballot. It’s 450.