Residents of the 8th Senatorial District could learn as early as Monday, November 27, whether or not Ira Silverstein will stand for re-election. That’s the first day on which candidates running as members of “established political parties” can file nominating petitions. The last day on which such candidates can file their nominating petitions is Monday, December 4.
Voters and other interested parties have until Monday, December 11, to file objections to those nominating petitions. The open primary election will take place on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Vote-by-mail, however, begins on February 8, the first day on which ballots will be mailed to voters.
It’s hard to tell what Ira will do. The allegations against him were explosive, but the published transcripts suggest a silly flirtation rather than sexual harassment, and Ira’s accuser too often initiated the improper exchanges. What’s troubling is that he was in a far more powerful position than she, and clearly should have known better. But it’s equally clear from the evidence that Ira’s not a player. My guess is that he won’t want to face a primary defeat after 18 years in office, so if his polls reveal he has a fighting chance at re-election, I think he’ll take it. If polls show a likely defeat, he won’t run.
The accusations have left him vulnerable. Whether any of the announced or surprise candidates can establish themselves as better representatives for the sprawling district remains to be seen. Candidates seeking votes on ethnic or religious grounds should be discouraged.
This may well turn out to be a case of voters choosing Ira because they know him and don’t find much in the accusations that warrants a vote for someone else.