Liuba Grechen Shirley, Democratic primary candidate for U.S. Congress NY...

Liuba Grechen Shirley, Democratic primary candidate for U.S. Congress NY 2nd District. Credit: James Escher

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Pencil Point

Same America?

Pointing Out

Did you know?

The New York Libertarian Party has placed a gubernatorial candidate on the ballot in every race since 1974, with the exception of 1986, and done it through the petition process every time. The party has never once achieved the 50,000 votes in a governor’s race necessary to receive automatic ballot access, largely because it has never let a major-party candidate take its line in a race, as the Working Families, Conservative and Independence parties have done.

The closest to automatic access the party has come was candidate Warren Redlich, who received 48,359 votes in 2010. That giddy race also featured Jimmy MacMillan of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, and “Manhattan Madam” Kristin Davis on the Anti-Prohibition line. In 2014, though, Libertarian candidate Michael McDermott got only 16,967 votes.

Yet the Libertarian Party persists, even as minor parties that in past years did garner enough votes to achieve permanent access have disappeared.

The Right To Life Party last fielded a candidate for the race in 2002, the Liberal Party was done after 1998, and the Tax Cut Party dropped under 50,000 votes in 2002, the last year it was on the ballot.

This year, with two weeks left to gather enough petitions to get announced Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe on the gubernatorial ballot, petition drives are being promoted at street festivals on Long Island. The party needs 15,000 legitimate signatures from registered New York voters, none of whom can have signed petitions for any other gubernatorial candidate, and is shooting for 30,000 signatures to be certain it has enough to survive challenges.

And in this election, as is usually the case, the candidate says this will finally be the year the party gets more than 50,000 votes to earn automatic access next time around, and can concentrate on running a race rather than qualifying for it.

Sharpe, a businessman, consultant and former Marine who lives in New York City, points to fundraising (he’s raised more than $100,000) and the 2016 election, in which Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson got 176,000 votes in New York, as reasons for optimism.

Lane Filler

Daily Point

Women power in 2nd CD?

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a possible 2020 Democratic presidential contender, has thrown her support behind Liuba Grechen Shirley in the race for the 2nd Congressional District.

“We need Liuba Grechen Shirley in Congress,” Warren wrote in a fundraising email Tuesday. “Will you join me in supporting her?”

Having the endorsement of progressive favorite Warren is a validation for the Amityville Democrat, who won her primary in the 2nd District as a left-leaning outsider. For Republicans, it’s just another example of Democrats drifting too far left.

“That just doesn’t fly in a general election,” says state GOP chair Ed Cox.

In a conversation with The Point Tuesday morning about Long Island’s Democratic congressional challengers, Cox compared Grechen Shirley with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the fiery Bronx Democrat and now national star who beat Rep. Joe Crowley in a primary.

Grechen Shirley won her primary by “talking the language of the left,” says Cox, citing issues like single-payer health care and criticism of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Health care is a big issue for Grechen Shirley, and she is using it to draw a distinction between herself and Rep. Peter King, who voted for the 2017 repeal-and-replace Obamacare bill before coming out against the Senate version. She raised “ICE raids” in a meeting with King in 2017, when she was just one of his constituents and founder of the community group New York’s 2nd District Democrats, but ICE hasn’t been a main issue in her campaign against King.

Cox says her “far left ideology” is out of touch with the district, and that the same is true for “Park Avenue” Perry Gershon, who is challenging Rep. Lee Zeldin in the 1st Congressional District. (“Labels don’t improve the lives of Long Islanders,” Gershon says in response to the nickname.)

Despite what Cox sees as the Democrats’ similarities, there’s no Republican nickname for Grechen Shirley. “That was such an appropriate name,” Cox says of Gershon, who, similar to past Republican and Democratic office seekers, switched his voter registration from Manhattan.

Mark Chiusano

Quick Points

Two times zero equals zero

  • An Oregon man was arrested by U.S. park rangers after taunting and harassing a bison at Yellowstone National Park. Here’s a suggestion for his sentence if he’s found guilty: 30 days in a cage in Yellowstone Park, so tourists can photograph and harass him.
  • So President Donald Trump might hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. If you’re wondering what might get accomplished, please refer to the multiplication tables you memorized as a child: Two times zero equals zero.
  • The Newseum, a Washington museum dedicated to freedom of the press and free speech, until recently sold a T-shirt that read, “You are Very Fake News” — creating controversy while perhaps unwittingly also making a point about free speech.
  • In the GOP primary for governor of Kansas, President Donald Trump has endorsed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who co-chaired the voting integrity commission formed to investigate Trump’s charges of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election. The commission found no such evidence before it was quietly disbanded. Guess Kobach is getting points just for trying. But if he wins by a landslide, are we talking . . . voter fraud?
  • President Donald Trump now says Donald Jr.’s 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-affiliated lawyer at Trump Tower was to “get information on an opponent.” Which helped American code-breakers finally understand the meaning of “adoption of Russian children.”
  • After weeks of wildfires in California, President Donald Trump blamed state officials for taking water that could be used to fight the fires and diverting it into the Pacific Ocean. Well, someone should explain to the president that the state has plenty of water for firefighters and, anyway, those are called rivers.

Michael Dobie