It looks like Vito Lopez arch-enemy and 50th Assembly District Committeeman Lincoln Restler will get another two years to help reform Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Fort Greene. Though initial ballot counts from last week's state and local primary election showed Restler trailing behind challenger Chris Olechowski, last night Restler announced via his Twitter that he'd managed to win by 53 votes!
Restler has been an outspoken advocate against political corruption and the Lopez machine; Olechowski, a community board chairman in Greenpoint, was favored by Lopez. While Restler was down by just under 200 votes last Thursday, it appears that absentee, affidavit and emergency ballots helped close the gap by yesterday's final count. Olechowski's ties to Lopez allegedly helped him win the vote of the Hasidic Satmar set in Williamsburg, with influential Rabbi David Niederman getting followers to the voting booth for Olechowski in droves.
And the election was tinged with corruption and fraud—both Restler and Olechowski's camps have claimed voter fraud, with one poll worker in the 50th Assembly District telling the Post that ballots had been cast in other voters' names. "This happened numerous times. The voter would say, 'I didn't sign it. Who signed it?" the poll worker said. "Clearly, it was fraud." We have reached out to Restler for a comment, and will update with more information.