Primary Paves Way for More Minorities on N.Y. City Council

From Associated Press

Baltimore's first elected black mayor was nominated in a primary election for a second term, and in New York City the number of minority members on the City Council is expected to double as the result of primary voting.

Unofficial returns in Thursday's primary showed that the number of seats held by blacks and Latinos on New York's 51-seat council is likely to increase from nine to at least 18.

Many districts had only minority-member candidates. Twelve races were uncontested, and minority-member candidates who won other contests are expected to face only weak Republican opposition in the Nov. 5 general election in a city where political registration is overwhelmingly Democratic.

In Baltimore, Mayor Kurt Schmoke won handily over seven challengers in the Democratic primary. He received 61,681 votes, or 58%, to 31,748, or 30%, for Clarence Du Burns, the man he defeated to become mayor four years ago.

Only 40 votes separated the top three Republicans in a six-way race for the mayoral nomination. Bruce K. Price led with 1,390 votes, or 28%, to 1,351 votes, or 27%, for Samuel A. Culotta and 1,350, or 27%, for Joseph A. Scalia.

Schmoke is favored to win in the general election because Republicans make up less than 10% of the city's registered voters.

About 30% of Baltimore's 312,000 registered Republicans and Democrats voted Thursday. Schmoke's low-key campaign was blamed by some for the unusually light turnout.

"Some people said that I wasn't exciting, that I wasn't entertaining," Schmoke said in his victory speech. "Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm Kurt Schmoke. I'm not Arsenio Hall."

In New York City, 25% of the registered voters cast ballots for council races.

The heaviest turnout was in Manhattan's 3rd District, where newcomer Tom Duane defeated Liz Abzug, the daughter of former U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug. Duane received 9,245 votes, or 59%, to Abzug's 4,061 votes, or 26%.

The race drew attention because both leading candidates are openly gay. Duane announced during the campaign that he has tested positive for the AIDS virus.

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