Running for office is a brutal business. You usually have to ask all your relatives and friends, and their friends and relatives, for money. You introduce yourself to people who might not care one lick about who you are or what you think. You pursue media attention knowing that, if such exposure actually comes, you could say something stupid that effectively ends your career. Then you’re at the mercy of whether people take the time to vote, intend to vote for you, and manage to fill in the right bubble on their ballot. And then, sometimes, you lose.
Competitive elections are a rarity in New York City. Many elected officials are returned to office facing no challenge at all. Others face opposition that they easily overwhelm. It’s easy to dismiss the people who mount those long-shot challenges to local incumbents—indeed, sometimes incumbents win re-election because they are really, really good at what they do—but without folks willing to run exhausting and quixotic bids for office, we’d have even less democracy than we do in the Big Apple.
That’s what Jeff Kurzon, who last week mounted and lost a second bid to unset Rep. Nydia Velazquez, and Oliver Rosenberg, who made the first primary challenge to Rep. Jerrold Nadler in two decades, talked about with me on BkLive this week. We were joined by Stephen Witt of Kings County Politics.